Sunday, November 18, 2012

1 Peter 1:6-7

"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"

What trial are you currently facing in your life?  Perhaps you are facing financial hardship or you are grieving due to the death of a loved one.  Maybe you or someone you love is experiencing a physical setback or a loved one has made bad decisions and is suffering the consequences.  There is no greater validation that we are drawing nearer to God than that which comes when we face adversity in our lives.  Just as intense heat brings about the purity of gold, so too is the purity of our faith the result of the fiery trials we face in our lives.We are free to rejoice in the temporary hardships of life when we are more oriented to the reality of God and His provision that ourselves and our suffering.  When we trust in God and obey His commands we become equipped to see His provision in the midst of our struggle.

Consider the predicament of the Israelites as they were backed up against the Red Sea and the strongest army in the world was in pursuit.  As the Israelites stared at Pharaoh’s army drawing near and then turned around and viewed the body of water behind them, they were overcome with fear and they said to Moses: “is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness…” (Exodus 14:11).  Their anger at Moses was the result of their lack of orientation to the provision of God which had been in plain view since they left the bondage of Egypt: “And the Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on they way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night” (Exodus 13:21).  God had led them to the spot where they were at specifically so they could trust in Him and see His provision.  Had they looked up they would have seen the pillar of cloud across the Red Sea indicating that somehow God was going to bring them across to safety.  Instead, however their focus was on Pharaoh’s army.  They elevated the human problem above the Divine solution!  This is what we do when we allow the sufferings of this world to overtake our thinking so that we can’t see the provision of God.  Exodus 13:18 states that: “God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea…..”  In this same way God leads us to adversity and then He leads us through adversity.  Our responsibility is to trust Him through these difficult times so that our faith will mature and He will be glorified.

When we face undeserved suffering we have a choice.  We can allow ourselves to be overcome with fear and panic or we can rejoice and take comfort in the provision of God.  Imagine how the Israelites must have felt when they saw the Red Sea part and they walked through it.  What were they thinking when they looked behind them and saw the sea engulf the Egyptian army?  They had missed a great opportunity to trust God.  Only by trusting in God during times of suffering will we draw nearer to Him in our Christian walk.

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