James 1:3-4 (NIV) "For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when our endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything."
When my family first moved from the big city to a small farm, the first farm animal we added was chickens. For some reason, I had a love for this farm fowl for as long as I could remember. My grandparents on my dad's side of the family had a country home and one of my favorite activities to do when we visited them was to see the chickens.
One of the most exciting days in my new farm life was the day our first baby chick hatched from an egg. We had allowed a hen about twelve eggs to sit on and hatch. Most all of the chicks had broken out of their shells with no problem, but there was one that seemed to take longer. In my impatience and sincere desire to assist the poor thing, I helped it break its shell away. I had no idea that I had doomed the little bird with my aid. I later learned that the infant fowl must have the struggle necessary to peck slowly out of its shell, just as a butterfly must experience the struggle it requires to emerge from its cocoon. Without the effort needed, both the infant fowl and the butterfly will be too weak to survive. It's the struggle that strengthens!
James is saying in this verse that it is to our advantage for our faith to be put to the test. The struggles that we experience through difficulties strengthen us because we discover that we must have God's strength to pull through! Each test that we conquer only makes us stronger to face something bigger. James encourages us to not be resistant to the test of our faith, but to let our faith have the opportunity to grow.
God desires to give us our wings so that we can fly high above this world and soar over every sin that would easily beset us. He will never pick our shell or peel our cocoon, but He will strengthen us from within our spirit with His power to rise above every trial that would try to weigh us down.