Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trials Hurt

Yesterday morning at this time I was witnessing the birth of my nephew. This 10 lb. 2 oz. boy was born at my sister's home with a midwife attended water-birth at 9:06 a.m. It was a truly miraculous experience and thankfully God graciously protected my sister and this precious baby--healthy, huge, and whole. Love you, Les!

As we were in the wee hours of the morning, still in fairly quiet labor, I picked up her Bible and began silently reading the first letter from Peter's hand. Juxtaposed next to my circumstance, his words struck me in an interesting way. He says,"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ..." (1 Peter 1:6-7)
  • "In this you greatly rejoice" - What is this? He tells us in the few preceding verses: God's abundant mercy that gives us a living hope in Christ, an inheritance incorruptible, and a power that keeps us victorious by faith (vv. 3-5). We rejoice in the promises of God given to those who believe--Promises that cannot be hindered by the happenings of this present world.
  • "though now for a little while" - Even though we have to suffer in this life, in spite of our circumstance, He has given us the power to rise above and to walk in peace. It is only for a little while. This world is not our everlasting home. Our home as a child of God is with the Father. We are sojourners here, travelers through a land corruptible.
  • "if need be" - If you are His child, your heavenly Father will only allow trials to come your way that have greater purpose than just your suffering. What the enemy intends for evil, God uses for good. Believe.
  • "you have been grieved by various trials" - Trials grieve our spirits! Even though we are instructed to rejoice, it does not mean we are happy. Rejoicing and happiness live on totally different realms. Happiness depends upon your happenings. Rejoicing rests upon the promises of God--declaring His truth and believing in spite of your feelings. Trials will grieve our spirits. There is a reason why they are described as "fiery" rather than "fun." God remembers that we are but dust.
  • "that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes" - Faith has far greater value than anything this material world can offer. Everything material is perishable; everything born of God is eternal. This portion of the passage also begins to explain why we have to suffer those fiery trials--it shapes, strengthens, and purifies our faith.
  • "though tested by fire" - Again, there will be various kinds of trials you will have to face in your life; it is the nature of this world. And in the midst of the trial it can be very hot and very painful. But these sufferings are not arbitrary.
  • "(the genuineness of your faith) may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" - It is all about Him. To His name be the glory, honor, and praise. John Piper says, "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." He has created us with a need for Him. It is only when we come to His fount and drink of His fullness that our lives will glorify His name. But when we do, we will live in victory no matter the trial.

My sister literally pushed through the pain yesterday (you are my hero!), but she did it with grace and strength. Similarly, as we walk these days through the fiery trials that will come, through faith in Him and His promises incorruptible, we are empowered to do it victoriously. And on the other side of the pain comes joy unspeakable. Keep fighting, friend. Joy is to come.

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