Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
~ Romans 5.1-5, NASB
Welcome to mile marker 15 of the #encourage marathon! (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here).
Someone out there is under pressure—the intense, transformative kind. It might even be you!
A diamond is one of the hardest materials on earth, highly resistant to abrasions. This mineral is a carbon structure formed in the mantle of the earth under intense pressure and heat (between 1,650 F and 2,370 F). These two factors transform the molecular structure of the carbon to make what we know as a diamond.
In short, a diamond is formed through darkness, depth, intense pressure, and consuming heat; becoming one of the strongest minerals on earth.
In a similar way, God is forming us into diamonds through the intensity of our trials.
Let’s have a look at the three qualities produced through tribulation:
I recently listened to an audiobook of The King’s Speech, a historical narrative focusing on King George VI and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue. It is far better than the movie (and doesn’t contain all the bad language!). King George was not supposed to be king; that designation had been intended for his elder brother, Edward. In their early years, Edward was easily liked, excelled at everything, and was dashingly handsome. For him, everything was effortless. By contrast, King George (known as Bertie in his youth) spent his entire young life struggling, primarily with his stuttering speech. Prior to becoming king, he consulted Logue to improve his speaking abilities. Logue noted that if all his patients worked as hard as the king, they would all be cured of their speech problems.
Edward had one of the shortest reigns in the British Empire. He could not handle the pressures and responsibilities of ruling a kingdom. He’d never had to do anything hard and therefore had no developed strength for such a challenge. Bertie, on the other hand, had struggled to succeed his entire life. When he took the reigns as king he was able to successfully fill his role during one of the darkest periods of the British Empire (World War II).
King George had learned perseverance, a rare quality which can only be formed under relentless pressure.
Character is made up of one’s moral qualities. We know what sort of character God expects us to have, but it is under trial that our true nature is exposed and beaten into shape. Trials prove our character or else show where it needs to be improved.
I used to think hope was wishful thinking. You ‘hope’ something will happen as you cross your fingers and wish on a star, but the likelihood is low. It was in college, however, that the preacher at our congregation changed my understanding of this common word completely. Hope, he said, was a confident expectation for good—quite the opposite of wishful thinking!
As a Christian, our hope isn’t hanging by a thread. We are confident that God will save us. We are confident He hears us. We are confident He cares for us. We are confident in His promises.
Going back to the diamond analogy, a diamond is strong and hard. When we endure trials, it creates a diamond-like hope; one that cannot be marred by anything in this life. That hope inspires. That hope, like a diamond, leaves an impression on any person it touches.
Today, you might be in a dark place, surrounded by ashes, trembling beneath an intense load, and perspiring in the heat. The Lord will not allow you to be reduced to blackened rubble. If you place your trust in Him, you will emerge from this trial as an awe-inspiring diamond—a valuable treasure to the Lord.
Please continue to join me on Facebook, Twitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share the image or verse reference on your Twitter feed or Facebook page with the hash tag (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.
Make a little time each day to write down these verses. Studies have shown that the physical act of writing increases retention far more than typing or reading. When I was in college, I used to recopy my notes—cleaning them up, adding things I remembered, and placing emphasis on important facts. Because of this effort, I rarely had to cram for midterms or finals. I encourage you to make a practice of copying Bible verses, it really does help in the effort of committing the word to memory.
[If you click on the link in the passage at the top of the post, it will take you to BibleGateway.com. From here, you can click a link which allows you to share directly to Twitter, Facebook or send an email.]