2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3 You know under pressure your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. 4 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. (emphasis mine) MSG
I really like The Message version of this scripture which is why I'm using it here. "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides." Seriously? A gift? I'm getting heat from every direction and I'm supposed to consider it a "sheer gift?" You've got to be kidding me!!! This is how we feel, right? It doesn't feel like a gift. Just send money. A Starbucks card. A Nobella Grace gift certificate...but not tests and challenges.
We don't grow when someone sends us money. It's nice, for sure, but it doesn't stretch us and grow us. When we are thrown into the fire and get pressure from every direction, we are forced to grow. Or we can choose to sink into the pit. It's a choice, that I know first hand.
When we get the pressure, the tests, the life challenges from every direction (and don't they all seem to come at once??!! Can I get an Amen!) only God can give us what we need to overcome the challenge. Only God can give us the strength we need to run the race. Only God can give us the endurance to keep going when we feel like we can't take another hit. Only God.
And this is the blessing...the gift..in the challenges...it tests our faith, it forces our faith out into the open. When we can come out of the fire not even smelling like smoke we know that's God! (Daniel 3:26-27)And we want to share our God with everyone so that everyone can experience the victory He is waiting to give us.
I'm learning to embrace the challenges. It's not easy and they are often extremely, excruciatingly, painful. But I know that God is putting me through these tests because He's got a huge blessing with my name on it. And He has one for you too.