December 11, 2020
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
“If necessary” is a telling phrase. Peter is writing to people who are experiencing great suffering. He writes the entire letter of 1 Peter to encourage them. But he begins by reminding them that, during this brief life, we will have trials and they do have purpose. In fact, it is the understanding of their purposes that trials lose their power to distress and destroy us.
It is difficulty that pushes us to Christ, that causes us to believe, that makes us desperate to find the only One who can help us in our problems. Without such suffering, we would go on our way, never thinking about God. Secure in our sinful depravity and self-reliance, we would assume that all is right with the world. But it is not. We were never made to live independent lives. And we are not designed to live for this world. This is a training ground and there are profound lessons to be gained. Trials take us there in the deepest of ways.
Therefore, God graciously causes or allows trials in this life to bring us to the end of ourselves. He uses these moments (while never doing evil) to push us to Himself, which is the only posture that will be successful. Difficulties are hard; they are persistent, but they are also purposeful.
When we trust God in the midst of suffering, we discover (and show the world) that God is always faithful. That His 7,000 promises are intensely reliable. That He is a God of tender grace and infinite mercy. That nothing is impossible with Him. That we can believe in Him and that, when we do, there are certain and sure results from a loving God.
At the end of the day, our tested faith results in “praise and glory and honor” going to the One to whom alone it is due. What greater purpose could I serve than to show the world the reality of God so that they might a right opinion of Him?
J.I. Packer said, ““If you ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ no light may come, but if you ask, ‘How am I to glorify God now?’ there will always be an answer.”
What Paul calls “momentary light affliction” will come to you. Finding God’s purpose will help you and give the foundation to get you through. One day soon you will see their purpose in even greater brilliance and you will be glad you trusted our loving God.
Father, Your knowledge of everything is a comfort to my soul. Help me to trust You. Help me to glorify You today and not worry about tomorrow. Thank You that You are making a home for me where there is no more sorrow … no more tears. Until then, keep me faithful by Your strong right arm.
October 13, 2021
October 12, 2021
It could not be worse. God is gracious in His offering of forgiveness through Jesus Christ to all who believe. Those who come to know God and obey Him will experience the best in this life and the life to come.
But what of all those who ignore God? Who will not trust Him? Who never follow and obey the one true God? The Bible leaves no ambiguity about this, and its clarity should sober us.
October 07, 2021
My son, who is planting a church in a Northern Colorado city, intentionally took me for a walk through a sculpture garden recently that is located in a prominent spot in his large city. It was beautiful, convenient, and filled with people.
To my amazement, at every 30 yards or so, there was a stone statue. The whole garden was a prayer garden, and each statue was named. The farther we walked, the more I realized it was a garden designed to help you pray to ancestral spirits. This religion is called animism and is no different from the false religions we read of in the Scripture. Paul encountered this in Athens.