Really! Did you know the Bible tells us to be truly glad even though we may have to endure many trials?
How in the world can we be “truly glad” when we look at the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, wildfires in 11 states and Canada, concerns heating up with North Korea, Rohingya refugees trying to escape from Myanmar to Bangladesh, persecution of Christians around the world, a loved one diagnosed with inoperable cancer, another bill that is coming due and the finances are so tight, job insecurity, car accidents, betrayal, hatred, bigotry and so much more.
I’ve been reading through 1 Peter recently. I was struck by verses 6 and 7 when we are told to:
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is GENUINE. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
All of the trials and struggles of this life are for a purpose. They are for strengthening our faith, the opportunity to see God’s sovereignty and provisions, and to truly know Jesus Christ is the ONLY Savior to all!
Our Bible study group just looked at the life of (Genesis 37-50). Why in the world would Joseph continue to be truly glad during his trials? He had dreams where he saw his brothers and father bowing down to him. He was hated by his brothers. His brothers stripped him of his colorful robe, was thrown into a dry well, sold to a caravan who sold him as a slave to Potiphar. Then when things were starting to look up and he found favor with Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses him of molesting her. Joseph is sent to jail. He is there for a few years when he interprets the dreams of the cup-bearer and baker, which Joseph interprets and the events come true. Again, several years later, Pharoah has a vision and no one can interpret it. The cup-bearer remembers Joseph. He is called from jail to interpret the dream and tells of 7 years of plentiful food in Egypt before 7 years of extreme famine. He is elevated to a position just under Pharoah. His brothers go to Egypt for food during the famine and eventually learn that their brother, Joseph, is very much alive – AFTER they had bowed down to an Egyptian ruler (Joseph) whom they didn’t know (fulfilling his dreams). Joseph forgives his brothers for their actions and tells them:
“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:4b-7
Then many years later when Jacob, Joseph’s father dies, the brothers figure now Joseph will get even with us. Genesis 50:19-20 says,
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
That’s it! Joseph could remain “truly glad” when throw in a pit, falsely accused, jailed, forgotten, or when he was unwanted or unloved because he knew God had a plan through all of his trials.
We all have burdens, worries, concerns, fears, and trials of some degree and magnitude. Yet when we surrender our lives to Jesus, we can be truly glad because we have the promise of eternal life and the knowledge of God’s having a plan for our lives from before we were born. (Psalm 139:16)
Wildfires: http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/wildfire/where-are-the-wildfires-burning and WeatherWizKids
Hurricanes: Harvey – Business Insider
Irma – NOAA and ABC News
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I was reading through our Maundy Thursday worship service and was just humbled by what Jesus has done for us. The service is first person readings of accounts from Gethsemane to the crucifixion. One portion is Jesus telling how He was praying alone in the garden after leaving Peter, James and John a little farther away to pray. After praying an hour, he returned to find his closest friends asleep instead of praying for Him. Jesus say, “Why now, Father, I need comfort and support from my disciples and Satan lures them into sleep.” After it happens the second time, Jesus is portrayed as thinking, “My Father knew I needed support as I prepared for what was coming. Yet Satan was determined that I should walk this path alone.”
I’ve learned from a lot of people who suffer with chronic illnesses that there are so many times they feel alone. It gets old when someone asks, “How are you doing?” and you have to decide how much to tell them. The meds have changed again. The weather is affecting how your body responds today. You overdid yesterday and you are paying for it today. Dealing with insurance claims and payments are more burdensome. People who used to be close friends have distanced themselves because they don’t know how to help. … The list goes on. These types of thoughts and feelings lead those who are suffering with an incredible feeling of facing life alone. I know, I’ve been there. Fortunately, it’s only been for short periods of time.
I have learned that no one can give me the support and understanding that I need 100% of the time. My husband has job stresses. My daughter is busy with her family. Friends are dealing with their lives. I have learned there is only ONE CONSTANT, and that is God, my Heavenly Father. I’ve shared about the job loss two years ago, and sensing every time I prayed for new clients, a new job, what to do, God kept leading with – WAIT! Two years can go by quickly, but when you are waiting for something and you don’t know what it is, it can be forever. However, when we wait relying on God, we are filled with a calm (that Satan will definitely try to steal) that goes beyond understanding and human logic. Reading this perspective of what Jesus went through and the cry of, “Why now God, when I need You so much, do You seem so distant and my friends can’t support me either?”
Almost every time I’ve had a “waiting from God period” it has turned out to be a blessing that I couldn’t see. God was using that time to prepare me for what was to come. Recently, He showed me that even my obedience in writing this blog has been a learning experience for what is to come on the job He provided 2 years later. I’m bowled over by His planning, providing, leading, preparing. He is the master life-coordinator. If I just surrender to, listen and obey what He is telling me to do, it would happen without so much doubt, pain, frustration, impatience, etc.
I remembered the part of the Holy Week story where Jesus is “abandoned” by God on the cross. Where Christ suffers hell for us. But I guess I hadn’t really thought about His understanding that He knows the pain we feel when answers aren’t coming easily, when friends don’t support us, when family members aren’t there for us, or even when God is silent. He knows our pain and hurt. So He holds us closely when we cry to Him, “How long?” “Why?” “Where are You?” He knows the pain in our heart and empathizes in ways we can never show. When you’re struggling with feelings of being abandoned, alone, unloved, unsupported – run into His loving, open, understanding arms.
Praying you may be filled with God’s peace as you listen and wait for His leading ~ Faye
One of my dad’s favorite bible passage has been Isaiah 40:31. So for sentimental reasons alone, it’s been meaningful to me. I think of it more often because November through March we are blessed with seeing eagles near the river. They are an amazing creature. They can soar without flapping their wings, or take off with just a few strong flaps of their wings, and they are quickly lifted on the air currents. Then they can dive straight down to the river or corn field for their prey. I’ve watched two of them doing their air dance as they mate and play with each other. They never seem to tire when they are enjoying being carried by the wind.
All of Isaiah 40 tells us of the secret of waiting on God, the anticipation and hope of His sending His Son to save us completely from our sins so that we may enjoy the glory of God. Verse 8 reminds us that God’s word will never fail, but it endures forever. Look, it has lasted for thousands of years giving guidance, comfort, encouragement and hope.
Whenever I need a reminder of who God is, verses 12-14 help give me some perspective:Who else has held the oceans in His hand? Who has measured off the heavens with His fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? Who knows enough to give Him advice or teach Him? Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice? Does He need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach Him what is right or show Him the path of justice?
When I question what God is thinking, in time, in His perfect time, He reveals His plans. I’ve seen it time and time again. (I wish I’d learn, remember and trust Him more quickly.) Recently, God allowed me to see how even in His encouraging and prompting me to write this blog, He was preparing me for something else. It looks like I’ll be able to use some of the skills I’ve learned here with WordPress in my new job. If I had known I’d be taking on this project, I’d have been filled with a lot of stress and anxiety over it. But because God prepared me, in advance of this project, to learn the some of the WordPress blogging process, I’m even more relaxed letting things go to God in prayer. He’s had it all in His plan (Jeremiah 29:11).
I’m being reminded daily that if I resist anxiety and WAIT EXPECTANTLY for God to lead me, I’ll discover strength, resources, joy, hope and unexpected blessings for the journey ahead. I am filled with God’s strength, renewed by His precious words, and encouraged once again to Wait Patiently for God.
Praying God lets you soar in the blessing of His strength ~ Faye