“My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking” (James 1:2–4 TPT).
Outward pressure is always an opportunity to be inwardly transformed.
An experiment was done in the Arizona desert called Biosphere 2. The goal was to create perfect growing conditions for trees, fruits and vegetables, as well as humans with the hope of replicating this environment on Mars and potentially other planets. A huge glass dome was constructed to house an artificial, controlled environment with purified air and water, healthy soil, and filtered light.
For many months at a time, people lived in the biodome doing life as usual and everything seemed to be going well . . . with one exception. When the trees grew to a certain height, they would suddenly collapse. It baffled scientists until they realized their controlled environment wasn’t as manageable as they original expected. Interestingly, they forgot to include the natural element of wind. Trees rely on the resistance of the wind to blow against them for their root systems to grow deeper, which will support the tree as it grows taller.
Sometimes the very things we try to eliminate from our lives are the things we need to appreciate.
Let’s face it, who among us doesn’t long for a perfect growing environment for ourselves, with no disruptions from outside influences? Often, because of this longing, we attempt to create a controlled environment, striving to avoid any form of adversity or challenge. When confronted with hardship, the normal tendency is to find the quickest route of escape—choosing rather the path of least resistance. However, what if our trials and challenges were working for us rather than againstus? With this consideration, listen to what the apostle Paul had to say on the matter:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV).
I wonder if trees could talk, would we hear them complaining whenever the wind blew against them? When you carefully consider how a tree gracefully bends and sways when the wind blows against it, you will notice it does not stand rigid, resisting the force of the wind nor does it push back. The tree accepts the strong wind as a gift that helps it grow stronger while its roots dig deeper. Similarly, if we allow the winds of adversity to work for us rather than against us, God can use the adversity to develop our character and deepen our spiritual roots. When our roots run deep, we can remain standing.
Remember, outward pressure is always an opportunity to be inwardly transformed.
www.messengerinternational.org. Used by permission.