FINDING THE PEARLS IN YOUR PROBLEMS
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing
that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Did you know that oysters can have problems? Those little hard-shelled creatures can often get a foreign substance inside their shell that causes irritation and distress. So what do they do with this problem? They secrete a chemical to address the irritant... and voila, the end result is a valuable, costly pearl. Pretty cool, huh?
Now no one likes to have problems and troubles... but we all have them. They are part of the human existence. The Old Testament character, Job, had more than his fair share of difficulties in life. He said, "Man is born for trouble as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). Can I get an "amen" somebody?!
As with the oyster, God wants to take the troubles we have and use them for good. He wants to turn our problems into pearls. He wants us to look at problems differently... so that we can see the benefits and truly"consider it all joy."
WHAT ARE THE PEARLS?
1. Problems create an environment for God's grace to flow. The Bible clearly teaches us that "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Surely nothing humbles us like problems. Michael Vick is certainly not walking in pride these days. When trouble comes, it always brings humility with it... and humility creates an environment for God to pour out His grace. Wow... thank You, Lord.
2. Problems create and environment for your faith to be strengthened. Faith is the key that unlocks the storehouse of heaven. Faith is what pleases God. The stronger your faith, the more you will see God do in your life - "Be it done to you according to your faith" (Matt. 9:29). And faith really only grows when it is tested by trouble. See, faith is like a muscle... if there is no resistance on it, it stays flabby and weak. It takes stress and strain to make it strong.
James tells us that we need to consider our problems as all joy (pure and unmixed with grief and grumbling). Surely all problems are not all joy - cancer is not a joy, job loss is not a joy, rejection is not a joy, opposition is not a joy, hardship is not a joy - but we are to CONSIDER problems a joy. We are to say by faith, "God, You who love me have allowed this situation to come into my life... and I know You are going to use it for good somehow (Rom. 8:28)... and I choose to trust You and look at this with anticipation and excitement.' That is faith. That attitude pleases God.
Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer, was blinded as an infant by the negligence of a quack doctor. Although blind, she was never bitter but rather considered it all joy and wrote these words:
Oh what a happy soul I am,
Although I cannot see;
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy,
That other people don't;
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot, and I won't.
3. Problems create an environment for you to draw near to God. Problems remind us how desperately we need Him. We seek God more earnestly when we are in trouble... and He has promised that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts (Jer. 29:13). Surely, He is near to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18).
When it comes to problems, you and I always have a choice to make: "Will I allow this problem to make me bitter... or make me better? Will I focus on the pearls or the poison?"
God's word says, "Consider it all joy"... and let Him take that problem and turn it around for good. If you will choose joy at the start, you will see God bring abundant joy to the conclusion. There are pearls in your problems. Stay focused on them and you will be amazed at what God will do in response.
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Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for almost 20+ years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast. Click here to become a ministry partner.