A bar of steel may be priced usually around 1,500 pesos. Turning that bar of steel into horseshoes, you will probably be able to sell it for around 4,500. pesos. Take that same bar of steel and turn it into needles, you can sell it for about 20,000 pesos. The same bar of steel can be around 30,000 pesos should it be molded into knives. This same bar can also be worth thousands of pesos more if it is carefully crafted into springs and sprockets found in your watch.
From the same bar of steel we can see a significant upgrade in value when those very same item/s go through intense pain in heating, pounding, grinding, polishing, etc. for it to be produced. It seems obvious that the longer the struggle – the valuable we become. But actually no. The idea here is – we should be intentional for what we become.
James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy…”. We do not always feel joyful when we go through various trials and struggles – but we are to count (‘reckon’) it all joy. According to Rev. A. B. Simpson in Days of Heaven Upon Earth, “The word “reckon” is one of the key-words of Scripture. It is the same word used about our being dead. We do not feel dead. We are painfully conscious of something that would gladly return to life. But we are to treat ourselves as dead, and neither fear nor obey the old nature.” In order for us to become stronger through difficulties and unsettling circumstances – we need to ‘reckon’ the things that come as a ‘blessing’ – being determined to rejoice – ‘Count it all joy.”
It is only natural for us to despair in response to a struggle. BUT the beauty here is, we have the assurance that everything happens for a reason. An athlete has to go through intense training and preparation long before the competition for the reason that severe trials will always bring out the best or the worst in him. Exposing his weaknesses and character flaws. That requires not only physical training but also spiritual and emotional preparedness. In fact, the Bible uses a rather stronger word for this – ‘vigilance’. St. Paul said, you do not only prepare as an athlete, you are also a farmer. You might have done your part in the preparation stage – but there is another painful reality you have to face – wait for the rain. This shows another benefit in struggles – it always teaches us to TRUST in the Lord – who brings out the rain. We have to believe the assurance of God’s faithfulness in our struggles. Paul said, ‘He will provide an escape route. Not only that he further says ‘there is no struggle that is beyond our ability to overcome’. Why do you think is that? Because obviously, God doesn’t want us to crack under pressure.
Another lingering question remains, ‘How much can we trust?’. Paul said, you are not only preparing like an athlete, patient like a farmer but you are also a soldier. You have to, by faith, face your greatest fears knowing that an untested faith is a worthless faith. You have to say goodbye to your oasis, ‘not entangled by the affairs of this world’. In Zechariah 13:9 the Lord said this: “I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, “This is My people’.” Understand that to melt tin requires 2310 of heat. Aluminum requires 6600; silver 9080, and gold requires 10630.
Why we have to count it all joy when we go through difficult, challenging unsettling situations? For God to manifest His power in us, – for Him to proudly declares – ‘This is my people’. For us to come out as gold. Will you?