We have all been there. That moment when it all seems too hard and we throw our hands up in despair. The moment we feel so much pressure on every side that we just want to scream, ‘it’s not fair God!’ and walk away. We beg God to let up, to change something, to bring breakthrough. Sometimes we want to stop ‘believing’ because our hope feels smashed and we feel tired.
Let me tell you, I understand. After ten years of praying faithfully and waiting for God to move several mountains, my husband and I have only seen the tip of some mountains start to wobble and some are yet to budge even an inch. Trust though, is birthed in such trying circumstances and we have learnt to activate God’s word as a true authority that will eventually manifest.
That being said, on Saturday I was not remembering these precious truths and I was feeling pressured and helpless and just wanted God to change my circumstances. I felt weary from my long battle with health and a bit hard done by, especially in regards to food intolerances. My dietary challenges had gone to another level and I was literally wondering, if I was supposed to just live on green vegetables and air!? Seriously I have had enough spinach for a lifetime!
After hours of researching nutrition, gut health, natural healing remedies and praying, I still needed some serious breakthrough and answered prayer. So I did what I know to do when my back is up against a wall and I’ve got no solutions. I sat down with my journal to just listen to God.
As I was getting comfortable in my chair, and preparing that it can take me hours to ‘tune in’ and hear his voice, I suddenly heard him speak to me. What he said was profound and re-framed my struggles and trials. It reminded me of Isaiah chapter 61; his promise to make beauty from our ashes.
This is what Yehovah said: ‘Liana, precious ones of mine are like precious stones. Pressure makes my diamonds. Their beauty is formed through pressure on every side. Their light I make radiant. People are wowed by what I have made in them. But only I know what it took for each diamond to be formed and what conditions were needed to develop the clarity and ability to refract my light. Purity in the hearts of my people shines and the world has not seen anything like it. Anyone can praise Me when blessings are coming at every turn, but true strength is holding on to My word and keeping the joy of the Lord as your strength.’
This word was encouraging and challenging all at once and made me think. If pressure makes diamonds then maybe we shouldn’t always be asking God to change our circumstances before his processes and seasons are complete. Some of those challenging circumstances might be what God uses to bring out our God-colours and potential. What kind of tree would we become if we were not first rooted in love and God’s truth, so that we could withstand the fiercest storms?
The story that comes to mind in the bible is that of Joseph in Genesis chapter 40. He had to go through tests of rejection, humility, false accusation, prison, fear and potential execution and then being forgotten…all before God finally, at His appointed time, deemed Joseph ready for His destiny. God’s favour and love never left Joseph even through each test. Genesis chapter 39, verse 21 says, “The Lord was with Joseph; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warden.”
Inside Joseph was all the potential and skills needed for his future but God knew when He was ready to step into the position of great responsibility over Egypt of providing famine relief and ruling as second in charge with wisdom. The tests were Joseph’s training ground.
I am learning that God in his wisdom is building tenacity, strength and resilience in us through trials. By His grace I am growing a faithfulness, trust and joy that cannot be stolen. The pressure and heat have the ability to bring out the best in us and shape us into precious stones. Furthermore, when we rejoice in God even when everything is going seemingly very wrong in our lives, we give glory to God.
We can place value on our eternal gift of Jesus and our relationship with him. Many times I have read Habakkuk chapter 3, verse 17 and been challenged by it; “Though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.”
Without pressure we simply would not grow into who we can become. The potential in us would lay dormant and we would not develop the muscles that we need to fly. Trials help us learn to rely fully on Jesus and are an opportunity to practice rejoicing in joy, just from knowing Christ! Without going through God’s tests and refining processes perhaps we would not have the maturity to fulfil the fullness of our destinies.
It has taken me years and years to get to the point in my faith that I am at now, where I actually believe God has a higher plan and knows what is best for my life. I am trusting that God will bring beauty from my ashes and will form me into one of his precious diamonds as I continue to trust His word.
I still need answers to my prayers for health but I choose to trust that God has a plan for this too that is already in motion. In other words, I choose to trust in our faithful God for everything.
Liana Monaghan is a creative soul, living in coastal South Australia. She is married to an artist, Justin and part of the church community at Tree of Life.