WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – The Lord did me a wonderful favor a couple of Saturdays ago: He gave me a full day of frustrated plans. More things went wrong than should ever go wrong in any one day. I came to its end several hundred dollars poorer, several days farther behind in my plans, and holding a rolled-up piece of paper towel between two of my fingers to reduce the bleeding until I could get home.
Near the end, I began saying to myself: “OK, Jeff, now let’s see if you really believe what you say you believe: ‘The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps’ (Prov 16:9 NASB). So, things didn’t go quite your way today – Are you still OK with God directing your steps? Are you still OK with God?” My answer was a “yes,” but not a very enthusiastic one.
The Lord knew we’d have trying days like that when He led Peter to write today’s passage:
“…now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Pet 1:6-7 NIV).
“These have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine.”
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – You see, it’s easy to “trust” God when there’s no need to trust Him – when everything’s going your way and you’ve got it all under control. But untried faith is unreliable faith. It’s really only potential faith.
Make no mistake, we need God all the time – we don’t begin to comprehend how much we need Him every moment – but we don’t always feel our need for Him. We imagine that we’re OK without Him. So, He graciously provides trying circumstances in which our need becomes obvious, sometimes painfully obvious.
Faith is like a muscle: It becomes bigger and stronger only as it works against resistance. The more frequent the exercise and the greater the resistance, the more powerful the muscle becomes.
Tested faith, proven faith, is what will see us through when times are tough and the world doesn’t make sense. It wasn’t beginner’s faith that enabled Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to answer the king: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it…But even if He does not… we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan 3:16-18).
We’ve taken a major step forward in spiritual maturity when we learn to appreciate the testing of our faith and to grow from it rather than to resent it.
Where is your faith being tested just now? Try this prayer I often use: “Lord, help me learn everything you want me to learn from this trying situation. Help me learn it well and quickly – and then, Master, please get me out of this mess.”