Last Sunday morning, we were blessed with a special message ‘When Faith Is Tested’ (rooted in James 1) from Katie Little who is the curate at St Marys, Hitchin.
It reminded me of similar words from the disciple Peter, who wrote in his First Letter, Chapter 1 v6-7…
“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 honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”1 Peter 1:6-7
Peter is writing to Christians who are facing great struggles and suffering, but he reminds them that these trials are not their destination. They’re passing through. Joy is ahead. If they can just hold on.
That’s what true faith is.
Holding on to God, even when it’s really hard.
Especially when it’s really hard.
That kind of faith is more beautiful and precious than gold in the sight of God.
That kind of faith attracts the cheers of Heaven both now, and in the future, when we receive our ultimate divine welcome home.
Peter goes on to write what this faith looks like, and the reward that will come as a result in v8-9…1 Peter 1:8-9
“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 love how Brennan Manning puts in his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel…
“On the last day, when we arrive at the Great Cabin in the Sky, many of us will be bloodied, battered, bruised and limping. But, by God and by Christ, there will be a light in the window and a ‘welcome home’ sign on the door.”
Paul, hold on today. Hold on to God. Stay close to Him. He loves you. He sees you. He cares. Difficult days may still lie ahead, but joy will come. Both now, and in eternity.
In John 6, Jesus is sad as he watches many walk away from Him. He turns to His disciples and asks them, “Will you leave me too?”
Peter – the Peter of these verses we’ve read – replies, “Lord, to whom else would we go? You alone have the words that bring eternal life.”
True today as it was then.