For just a little while

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. 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. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:6-9)

One of the hardest things for some of us to come to grips with is that we have to face and endure trials. Yes, the timeframe may be limited, but why on earth do we have to face them at all? Peter was writing to a group of believers who were likely facing great persecution on a daily basis, yet he tells them to rejoice and take hope. How is it possible to rejoice in the midst of hard things like this? I think Peter wants us to realize these things are only temporary - they are for a little while. They will not endure, but when our faith is put to the test in the midst of these trials, it will emerge even stronger and purer than before the trials came our way. We don't have to understand how fire purges to see the beauty of what is produced - we just need to know the fire is necessary to bring forth the beauty of what would otherwise be hidden.

A trial has a way of changing our focus - we get a little less earthly focused and turn our eyes toward our heavenly Father just a bit more. We 'lean in' and find our foothold in him, not in our own strength. Most of the trials I have endured did more than just change my focus - they showed me where I am the weakest and where I have been attempting to compensate for that weakness in my own power or effort. If a trial can do that for us, maybe they aren't something to be dreaded, but something we might want to embrace. Another thing I have realized in each trial is that God never abandons me to my own devices - he remains with me, surrounds me with his love, and walks me through the trial. If a trial can help us see him just a little better, isn't it worth it?

A lot of things will attempt to shake our faith in this world, but a 'tested faith' is not likely to be shaken. Yes, there will be some 'shaking', but it won't take us down. It will bring to the surface that which needed exposure, as well as help us send down roots just a bit deeper into the soil of our faith. A tree without wind will not send down strong roots. The wind challenges the tree to 'take hold' in much the same way a trial challenges us to consider where we find our 'hold' in life. If it is only surface deep faith, we will likely crumble in the midst of the shaking. If we face each trial with the determination to set our roots deeper, we are likely to develop a strength of faith that is anchored well. Just sayin!

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