I’m shifting into a new season – learning to live outside of survival mode. I’m transitioning from a period of years where there has been a lot of confusion, emotion, misunderstanding, shouting, and miscommunication. There has not been a lot of hope or encouragement just sitting around to be stumbled upon. It has become a treasure hunt for us, and I’m finding that the hunt has become the treasure. The hunt… in the midst of trials of many kinds.
In the last month I’ve been taking my time in the book of James. Right away it catches my attention because it’s written to those “scattered among the nations.” I can relate to that! James continues with a reference to “trials of many kinds,” which I appreciate because we don’t all fight the same battle.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given…. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-5,12)
This month I started 1 Peter, who also writes to those scattered throughout the world. Peter also writes about all kinds of trials:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In this (a new birth, living hope, imperishable inheritance, salvation referenced in previous verses) you greatly rejoice, though for now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed…(1 Peter 1:2b-3, 6-7)
In fact, many Biblical writers talk about suffering and trials, so why did Peter’s take on trials stand out to me? Peter recognizes that it’s not necessarily the trials that we suffer from, but the emotion that is the constant companion to trials – grief.
When we face trials of many kinds, we do not battle circumstances; we battle in the territory of the heart. But don’t lose heart. God has a plan! God’s plan of attack on grief is joy. It’s not that grief is the enemy, but grief unmet by the truth can decline into despair.
Here is the truth: You have been chosen by God. Here are your weapons: Wisdom, grace, and peace. Here are your battle strategies: Perseverance, praise, and thanksgiving.
The hunt for hope or encouragement in the midst of trials has become our perseverance, and in our perseverance we are finding the ability to give thanks in all things. We are finding the uncharacteristic ability to not take things personally. We don’t understand what is happening, much less why, but it is very clear that God is still in control and he is bigger than even the emotional outbursts that circumstances drive people (including us) to. In those moments I want to give up on people, but I cannot give up on God.
This moment, week, month, year, whatever… It is not the end all to life as we know it. It will pass, as does everything, and probably something new will take its place to wear the crown of drama. The important question is how have we passed through it? Will God find our hearts to be bitter and sour, apathetic and wandering, or tried and true? To where, to whom, or to what did we turn in our hour of need? Did we turn our desperate hour of need into a sweet hour of prayer? Did we give thanks in all things or in all things raise complaints? Was our struggle against flesh and blood or against the spiritual darkness that desires to consume us?
It is very natural to pass through difficult times in the shadow. It takes the strength of the Spirit to turn it into a hunt and therein find your treasure.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13)
- Posted by hellobabs
- On May 22, 2017
- 0 Comment