“Faith must pass through the furnace—it will not do to say that we trust in the Lord, we must prove that we do, and that when everything is against us.” ~C. H. MACKINTOSH
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with His blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
~ Peter, The rock, in 1 Peter 1
Oh beloved, it is true.
We do have a ways to go before we get Home, and the path to that place is fraught with dangers, toils, and snares. Much of the peril is self-induced. And, much of it is from outside of us.
We find ourselves, often, in a pitched battle. The world, the devil and our own flesh are either hitting us one by one, or as one to destroy us. Pummeled, we often are. And it feels like there is no way that we are going to be able to hold on.
The world seeks to attract us back into its gutters.
The devil seeks to devour our zeal.
Our flesh screams for relief that only brings pain.
Supposed friends stand against us.
The evil one accuses us when we fail.
The news attempts to discourage us.
Our earthly relationships are challenged, or broken.
It seems like everything is designed to test us. It feels like everything is trying to pull us away from the One Thing we know we can believe in. And the issue is not that it feels like it, the issue is that all of this is really happening. We are, to put it bluntly, in a desperate fight.
And if we lose, we face losses much greater than we experience now. There is an answer though.
Can we see it?
Look at the passage again. Peter was no stranger to trials. And he is writing about this kind of stuff from a close-up understanding of what it is to go through some VERY tough times. Less than one sentence is dedicated to the idea that we may go through trials. He does not ignore them, by any means, but he puts them into their proper context.
G_d is happily blessed that we may go through trials, because they are only going to prove both, His faithfulness, and to validate our faith in Him. And, in the midst of this, He is going to multiply towards us the two most potent tools for navigating the problems: Grace (His favor and power to do His will) and Peace (He Himself, Who breaks down division and brings agreement of central truths).
As if this weren’t enough, He adds to us His great mercy, gives us hope, stores up for us an inheritance, and promises us His protection. And, all of this mixes together to give us an incredible strength that we had never really known before. This strength is an emotional wholeness and permanent happiness about our future.
Said simply: all of the tough stuff, is accompanied by so much good stuff that we are overwhelmed with Joy. But then it gets better. Once we see it. Once we even begin to comprehend the whole package of His movement towards us, we are overwhelmed with something we never really ever expected to happen. We had always been told we were supposed to do this, but we had no idea how to do it.
We Love Him. We can’t help it. We see how incredibly in Love with us He already is, and all we can do is respond in kind.
So beloved, are you struggling with the trials through which you are passing? Don’t. G_d is quite happy that you are passing through them. He is using them to show you something you never could find before. He is preparing you for a glorious and praiseworthy union with His very Self.
Tonight is your night. Time to face right into those troubles and feel the joy.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: “A saint’s life is in the hands of God as a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see; he stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says: “I cannot stand any more.” But God does not heed; he goes on stretching until his purpose is in sight, then he lets fly. We are here for God’s designs, not for our own.” ~Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; And when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.” – Proverbs 11:10