Friday, July 6, 2012

Peter Teaches that Trials are Temporary - Give Thanks!

He is not poor nor much enticed
Who loses everything but Christ.
It won’t be long before the rod
Becomes the tender kiss of God. 
~  John Piper

If I could only live with the faith of Peter, I would be happy. Peter reminds me of quick to act, so prone to put his foot in his mouth!  It's incredibly uplifting and comforting to notice how wise Peter was when he wrote the first letter in AD 64.  When Rome burned, the citizens lost everything.  They needed to blame someone, and Nero appeased them by persecuting Christians.  The purpose of Peter's letter was to teach the Christians how to live victoriously in the midst of hostility.  

  • without losing hope
  • without becoming bitter
  • while trusting the Lord
  • while looking for His return!
The Christian life is still a call to victory and glory through the path of suffering.  Joni Eareckson Tada knows this.  Elisabeth Elliot understands.  John Piper gets it.  Randy Alcorn has written about it. I add my voice to those who understand what it is to sit in a wheelchair for 4 decades, or lose a beloved spouse, or battle cancer, or watch a beloved daughter suffer.  I know something of pain, having suffered chronic pain for more than five years.  I know something of failed relationships, hopes dashed, dreams shattered.  I am learning that these trials are temporary, and are designed for good by a Beautiful, Loving Father.  

It is my heart to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called me out of darkness, into His marvelous light.

This is what I wrote the other day to some beloved friends:

Go and download Joni Eareckson Tada's book, A Place of Healing.  So good.  So insightful.  So helpful in thinking Biblically about the trials and stresses of life.  We are to give thanks in all things.

So, are your children rebellious?  God knows.  Give Thanks!  Thank Him, that He is in control, that He has redeemed you and saved you by His grace, so that you have a continuing relationship with the God of Glory, and can petition Him on behalf of your wayward children.  Thank Him for His comfort.  Thank Him for His ability to act.  Thank Him for sustaining you in the middle of your trial, and for comforting you in your grief.  He is able.  Give thanks!

Are your crops failing?  Is your business bankrupt?  Did your car break down?  Are you in financial straits?  Give thanks!  You know and serve Almighty God!  You are blessed beyond belief.  You are the redeemed child of the One Who sent His son to pay the price for all your sins, all your failings, all of  your ineptitude.  He is able!  Trust Him through this trial!  Look for heaven, hope in future things, for surely He will save you and keep you and take you to heaven and give you more than you can ask or think!  Thank Him!  Praise Him!  Glorify His beautiful name!  

Is your health failing?  Did you just get a diagnosis of a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad disease?  Are you nearing the end of your life?  Do you face pain, and sorrow, and debilitation?  Praise God!  Know that your new body in heaven will be one that will never have pain, or scars, or disease!  It will be lovely!  You will have health and strength that you have never experienced on this earth.  Trust that God will bring you through to the other side, and will give you a new body that is fit for eternity.  And praise Him for that!

Are your relationships hard?  Are you estranged from loved ones?  Do you feel the weight of sin that separates and misunderstands and causes strife and heartache and confusion?  Praise God!  He really is in control of everything, even the failed relationships and hard times you have experienced.  He is LOVE.  He knows your pain and sadness.  Take it to Him.  Leave it with Him.  Trust that He will make all things new, even these difficult relationships. 

God is good, all of the time, in every way.  He is good in the fires of Colorado.  He is good in the death of the kidnapped missionaries.  He is good in the life of those who suffer disease, or infertility, or bankruptcy, or abuse.  God is good, all of the time, in every way.

He deserves our praise.  

He deserves our gratitude.

He deserves our love.

We love Him, because He first loved us.

What grace!

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