Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  James 1.2-4 The Message

When was the last time you were in the middle of a tough situation and said, “Thank you”? Isn’t  it more like “How do I get out of this?” “How can I void this” or “God, can we make a deal?” Our human condition is that we don’t like trouble or discomfort of any kind. Many have designed a religious system that identifies any problem as an assault by “the devil” or the problem is God correcting us because we are out of line. Some will claim they are victims of all the evil around them and try to remove themselves from the situation. Why is it so difficult for us to see adversity with a kingdom lens?

Our Bibles are filled with stories of fallen and broken people struggling through lives of adversity. Men and women who anguished over death, illness, rejection, abuse, war, racism, slavery, poverty, and the list goes on. What if Joseph had never been sold into slavery? What if Moses wasn’t given away by his mother and put into a basket? What if the Israelites went straight into the promise land?  What if these heroes of the faith had never experienced the adversity that shaped their faith and lives for God?

Could it be that James is on to something. Adversity, struggle, tough times can grow us. Our perspective in the middle of adversity must change from being a victim of some cruel cosmic play to the gift of an opportunity for growth.

Next time you realize you are in some trouble, stop and change your view. Ask God what character quality can be shaped through this. Look for the end goal and not the broken glass in front of you. Ask for wisdom through the struggle. Lastly, endure! The word in the greek means ” to remain under.” Don’t plan an escape but sit underneath the weight of the adversity. The repetition of remaining under these tests will only strengthen you.