Prayer 556 - Week 2, Wednesday
Wednesday - Fire that FORMS you
Peter describes trials here as a fire that can form and mature us. Take a moment to read this passage and spend some time with God thinking about the suffering seasons of life and whether they have ever caused you to grow.
1 Peter 1:5-7 (Message Translation)
"God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The day is coming when you'll have it all - life healed and whole. 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 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."
Have you ever gone through a trial that was painful to walk through and then realized after the trial was over that your faith had grown or matured through it? If yes, what was it like? What do you think caused the growth?
If not, talk to God about it. Let him know whether you're frustrated, confused, whatever!
The way Peter write about this "aggravation in the meantime" or that God will "wrap this all up" one day makes it seem like our trials only last a little while. It rarely feels like that! Peter is giving an eternal perspective on our current trials - how does it shift our thinking about trials when we think about them in light of eternity?
Thinking about trials as a fire that shapes us doesn't make them any less difficult. Whatever trials you are facing right now, take a minute to name them before God this morning. Ask God to show you where you are being formed and shaped even in this midst of it.
Wondrous Worker of Wonders,
I praise you, not alone for what has been or for what is,
But for what is yet to be, For you are gracious beyond all telling of it.
I praise you that out of the turbulence of my life a kingdom is coming
Is being shaped even now out of my silvers of loving
My bites of trusting,
my sprigs of hoping,
my drips of crying,
my smidgens of worshipping;
That out of my song and struggles, out of my griefs and triumphs
I am gathered up and saved, for you are gracious beyond all telling of it.
I praise you that you turn me loose to go with your to edge of now and maybe to welcome the new, to see my possibilities,
to accept my limits, and yet begin living to the limit of passion and compassion until, released by joy, I uncurl to other people and to your kingdom coming, for you are gracious beyond all telling of it.
- Guerrillas of Grace, by Ted Loder
Terrie and I journeyed together through the dark night of depression. She certainly had the hardest part of it, but I learned many things as I walked beside her. There were times when I wanted to escape, but for so many reasons, I knew my place was at her side. It required that I “go deep’ in my faith journey . I needed to love with God’s love. It was not easy for either of us. It was not easy for the kids. We talked with a counselor about this. He said our kids could grow up one of two ways. They would either be a mess or very kind, compassionate, and understanding . Again, lots and lots of prayer. It was not easy for the Church we served. In the end, it made our Church a beacon of hope for those who battled depression. In the midst of it all, Terrie led a group which used a book by David Seamons-“Healing For Damaged Emotions” . The group was life changing for many. At the end of our journey( we didn’t know it was the end at the time), Terrie and I had become so close that it was amazing. Our journey through depression had forged us individually, as a couple, as a family, and as a Church. I would never have chosen it, but I see how God used this path to shape us. He never failed us! Many times we messed up, but He never cast us away. His love sustained us and shaped us in the fire.
I’m not sure if my message was sent or not, so I will begin again. Lord, I know that my life has been tampered with trials, mostly of the physical kind. But I know they are like a child birth, where there is so much pain, but out of it comes the birth of a beautiful baby. That is how I look at trials. That out of all the suffering and pain comes a beautiful eternity in the kingdom of God. I know that there is more suffering to come in life, but I also know that with you I can prepare for that upcoming future, Because that is how I have prepared for any trials so far. I need to keep you in everything I do in my life. I need to be prayed up and ready for there are “corners “ to come around in the future. So many of the corners of life are unseen to us, yet they can happen in the moment. Help me Lord not to foresee the future, but to be ready for the future. Show me Lord God what I must do to prepare and be ready for the rest of my life. Thank you Lord God for all the people that you have put in my life to “soften“ the trials. At this time I think of my friend Colleen who is facing one of the most difficult times of her life. I pray Lord God that you would help her as she approaches each and every hurdle, and that she can “clear“ each one safely And see and experience the joy on the other side of each hurdle.
This day's devotional makes me think of two times of trial-- giving up smoking in 1990, and living in China in 2010. There were quite a few common struggles in these really difficult times of life.
First, I had to develop a supernatural-level prayer life to get through each day. In the case of smoking, every time I wanted a cigarette, I would pray instead. This was how I decided to do it--and it worked!
In the case of China, the workload in my teaching there and realization that I was stuck in this situation for at least six months made it necessary to pray myself out of bed quite a few days. And I had to pray before every class so that I could do my job well, so that my students wouldn't suffer. Every time I missed a baby shower or birth in my family, a grandchild's birthday, a holiday with my family -- I prayed. But honestly, not always in a gracious manner...
It made me realize that God wasn't going anywhere, and that he was available to me in every situation. Also, the China experience knit me together with AJ in a way we had never imagined.
Finally-- looking back on these long-lasting trials absolutely gives eternal, Kingdom perspective. This might even be the greatest gift of all to come from trials-- we can look back and see that God pulled (dragged?) us through it!
There have been too many trials to count from the loss of parents and other guardians to incest/rape to an abusive alcoholic first husband to a broken marriage of recent. I didn't know the Lord until 1979 so my early trials I suffered alone. The trials after meeting my Lord I've been blessed to know He was with me through every one of them. I'm the person I am today because of these trials. My faith has grown tremendously lifting me up to know that no matter what life brings my saviour will bring me through it. My faith in Christ, my trust in Christ has caused me to grow. I am forever grateful to Jesus for choosing me a His bride.❤