My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. –James 1:2, 3 (NKJV)
Around 20 years ago a wise man of God gave to me valuable advice that I still carry with me these many years later. This dear man and his wife, who have both since gone to be with the Lord, had invited Andrea and me to their home for a meal. During the visit I was droning on about a problem that I was facing and I hate to admit it, but I was complaining about the unfairness of the situation. This older and wiser brother in Christ said, “Well Dan, that sounds to me like some heavenly sandpaper. We often have to go through these sorts of problems to grow in the grace and patience the Lord intends for us to have.” That heavenly sandpaper illustration truly struck a chord with me. Down through the years when I find myself in a tough situation, I think about what this wise man told me and I thank the Lord for his wisdom and perspective.
Isn’t it interesting how that we all go through difficult times and frustrating situations? According to the Word of God, these trials can actually increase our faith and produce godly patience. But we must be willing to trust the Lord and look to Him in the midst of the problem. No doubt you are facing at least some difficulties in your life. You may feel frustrated with how unfair the problem seems to be. Consider that by trusting in Christ through it all that you can grow in your faith. This problem, whatever it may be, can be a divine process of spiritually sanding away pride, arrogance, or anything else that might be hindering your growth as a follower of Jesus.
The next time you find yourself feeling frustrated over a problem, remember that it may well be a little heavenly sandpaper. Keep looking to the Lord, keep praying, and continue allowing the Lord to have His perfect will in your life. That sandpaper can do a work that is truly miraculous and will result in a stronger and more vibrant faith. Yes, it’s painful at times, but when it's over we will have grown in the Lord.
Look to Jesus and He will bring us through our problems and frustrations. He will empower us to overcome.