Tuesday, November 17, 2009

rejoice in trial...

rejoice in trial. ya, i think we all know that we are supposed to do that, but if we are honest, most of the time that is the last thing we feel like doing.  so we usually resort to two things. 
  • we either fake it and make up some kind of begrudging joy, all the while stuffing how we feel and not admitting that life is really hard right now. of and we for sure don't tell anyone how deep this struggle is. after all, good christians, rejoice - so pull it together. so rather than truly rejoicing, we sink deeper and deeper into despair and isolation. 
  • the other response is to give up on god. this suffering stuff stinks and there is no way i can rejoice, christianity must not be for me.
how can we truly rejoice? 1 peter 1:3-9 tells us. verse 6 is where peter tells us to rejoice, though now for a little while we are being grieved.  what are we to be rejoicing in? our trial? partly, because through our trial we are being made more like christ and we are glorifying him. but i will be honest, but that is not usually what causes the rejoicing in my sinful heart. 

let's look at what verses 3-5 tell us.  they say that we are born again to a living hope, that we have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, and that we are being guarded by god's power (THE most powerful).  i think peter is telling to rejoice in those things. when trials come, and they will again and again, peter is telling us to look to the gospel for comfort, not just try and be happy in our circumstances. he wants us to remember. remember that we were brought from death to life and that we have a god who is always with us and always in control. sometimes things are so dark that we cannot figure out what god is doing or we cannot hear him, but we can cling to what we know.  we know he was pierced for our transgressions, conquered the grave, and there is now no condemnation in christ.

so, when i am faced with the dark times and trials, please preach the gospel to me and remind that i have cause to rejoice.  rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible because my god will not withhold anything from me.

we have so much trouble rejoicing because rather than turning the gospel for comfort, we turn to friends, drinks, tv, isolation, relationships, etc. all things that will fall short of producing inexpressible joy in us.

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