Pressure is the process by which hidden gems are revealed.
Adversity is the fuel for advancement. It is a necessary part of the maturation process that God uses to form us into the people He has destined us to be. Not many people like adversity, but, if we are honest, we appreciate the ways it positively and constructively impacts our lives.
Adversity is a catalyst for growth. And wherever there is growth, there must be a grinding. It is the grinder of our most intense experiences that both stresses us and stimulates us at the same time. It stresses us in that adversity pushes us beyond our extremities and forces us to cooperate with it or collapse under it. It stimulates us because it causes us to dig deeper and think broader than we ordinarily would have.
If you have ever exercised with weights, you understand that to build muscle there must be resistance. The resistance from the weights causes the muscles to experience stress, but that stress stimulates muscle growth. This principle applies to every area of our lives: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, vocationally, relationally, and physically. Therefore, adversity must be viewed as an opportunity to learn, grow, adapt, and advance.
A synonym for adversity is pressure. Pressure is the process by which God pulls out of us that which He has placed inside of us. Like a chunk of coal that hides a vibrant diamond until enough pressure is applied to reveal the diamond inside, so must we undergo pressure to reveal the gifts, talents, and abilities that reside within.
The problem is that most of us don’t want to endure the pressure process, but it is necessary to unearth the hidden gems that lie dormant. Scripture is quite clear in making a correlation between pressure and internal fortitude; for Proverbs 24:10 states, “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small” (NLT).
There are three principles concerning pressure this Scripture teaches us.
1. Pressure will come. There is a presumption that pressure is a part of the human experience. It cannot be escaped or avoided. The King James Version says there is “the day of adversity.” The day of pressure may come at our jobs, school, church, or homes. It can occur at any place and at any time. Our responsibility is to be prepared for it. The Apostle Paul instructs us to put on the complete armor of God in what he calls “the evil day” (Eph. 6:13). We can stand if we are prepared for the pressure.
2. Pressure tests the capacity of our strength. Knowing that pressure will come means we must be ready to endure it before it comes. But what exactly is pressure? Pressure “indicates intense inner turmoil” There will be some event in our lives that causes us to experience intense inner turmoil that will impact us spiritually, emotionally, or mentally. It will have the potential to cause us to give up, let go, or back down. Our strength will be tested in each of these areas, because all three constitute the immaterial nature of our humanity. Paul informs us that we are facing pressures from spiritual forces that operate in the atmosphere around us; therefore, we should rely on the strength of God’s Spirit (Eph. 6:10-12).
3. Pressure can be overcome. The good news is that this wisdom principle starts with the conditional conjunction if, which means failure is optional. The key is the state of our strength prior to the day of pressure. Only those whose spiritual, emotional, and mental strength is not able to match the intensity of the pressure they face will falter from the inner turmoil. On the other hand, those who have taken the time to build up their interior life can withstand, endure, and overcome the intensity of the pressure that seeks to demolish their resolve. Again, Paul exhorts us to stand and, after we have done everything we can to remain on our feet, stay armored in God’s strength (Eph. 6:14-17). What’s left after the pressure has been endured is a “diamond” that is stronger, better, and wiser.
Pressure is a part of life, but victory is the promise to every follower of Jesus Christ who rests in His power. It will come. It serves a purpose. And it can be overcome. God is using your pressure to unleash the diamond in you. So confront your adversity head on and show it just how strong you are!
Rev. Isaac Hayes is the president of Healing of the Soul Ministries. He is also an Assistant Pastor at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, IL, and a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. Follow Rev. Hayes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @RevIsaacHayes.
 R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 779.