Have you ever heard about how you shouldn’t pray for patience because you might just get your answer? I’m feeling that way right now. As I attempted to pursue the challenge of understanding the faith gained by trials, it has basically stalled my desire to sit and write. Which one of you believes the statement; “When the going gets tough, the tough get going?” Who was stupid enough to coin that phrase? In my experience when the going gets tough, it’s time to re-evaluate going at all. Maybe they should re-word that to say; “When the going gets tough, it’s tougher to keep going.” That I believe. I sure want to wait around doing nothing and have God open a door and say, “Here ya go!” None-the-less, it is better to keep going, to keep pursuing, than it is to stop and turn around. Going backwards is not a good response to any situation.
So since I don’t see any open door at the moment, let me start with one of the scriptures, God has placed on my thoughts, and see what can be learned:
1 Peter 1:6-9
The Message (MSG)
6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.
New Living Translation (NLT)
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials
for a little while. 7 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.
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
Trials here are compared to the testing of fire. They are also stated as a fact. There is no question, there is no if. We will face trials, or as The Message puts it, aggravation. It is God’s valuable commodity – faith – which is the focus, and the goal. Our faith is more valuable to God than even our own comfort. His desire for us is to be totally invested in Him, totally trusting Him even when we don’t see Him. Our faith is pleasing to God. He wants us to rejoice in pure faith, in knowing He has saved us.
So it is not the trials we rejoice in it is the purity of our faith that brings joy to the heart of God and in turn, joy to our own hearts. When we stand firm in the hope of our salvation, despite the over-shadowing of the many trials we face, God’s glory becomes visible to all around us.
This is by no means uncomplicated. It is not in our nature to laugh and sing in the midst of trials, yet is it possible? Can we holdfast our faith, not as someone holding on white-knuckled to a life preserver in the middle of a stormy sea, but as someone exulting in the power of the Savior of our souls, trusting he will lift us up above the storm?
The awesomeness of God’s Word is, there is more to be learned in this scripture, for it is His Living Word! For me, I have just dipped my toes in the water, it beckons me, “Come on in the water is fine.” Did God speak to you through this word? What did He say?