In the 1980s, Northern Nevada was the site of a gold strike. The discovery would have been beyond the imagination of 19th-century prospectors, for the gold in those western hills is virtually invisible. Even after being magnified 1,500 times, most of the particles remain imperceptible.

Modern technology, however, has found a way to extract the gold. First, tons of ore are crushed to the consistency of fine sand. Then cyanide is added to dissolve the granules into a clear solution. When zinc dust is blended in, the gold separates from the mixture. The gold was there all the time, but it couldn’t be seen.

There’s a similarity here to Peter’s explanation of suffering in his first New Testament letter. He saw great potential in the mountains of adversity and affliction that faced the Lord’s people. So he encouraged them to look beyond the heat and pressure produced by their suffering to the precious faith the Lord was developing from it (1 Pet. 1:6-7). He showed them that the “faith processing” experience was of great value to their spiritual lives. Therefore, they could actually rejoice in it (v.8).

Don’t give in to life’s troubles. You may not see in them the rich potential of a strong faith, but it’s there. To have it developed is much more precious than gold!