The Firm Foundation
Updated: Jan 11, 2019
How to keep strong when life seems to keep tearing you down.
Sunday mornings used to start at 5:30 A.M. with a lot of disdain. I would roll out of bed, making sure not to wake up with my roommate, and begrudging whip on the first few articles of clothing I found, pulling on my hiking boots with tired gumption, and running out the door as I tried to catch the first morning bus to work. I would then arrive to work, sweat dripping down my forehead from running to the bus stop, hairs spilling out every direction under my hat, and my clothes often mismatched from getting dressed in pure darkness.
So it was during these wee hours of the morning, when only two costumers would come in to watch soccer, and before I had my cup of coffee that I would talk with the head chef. Conversations surrounding books or what we thought of the current political scene to swapping stories of our families an our faith journeys.
And one morning he asked me a question I thought about for months. He causally brought it up, thinking I probably had the answer, but not knowing that I had struggled with this topic for years.
Why does God give us struggles in our life?
I was dumbfounded when he asked me this, my brain still not fully awake to answer his question. It frustrated me for months after as I thought about all the things I should have said.
It took me until I was in Africa, an ocean away, that I got the answer. So Ill have you dive into 1 Peter, my favorite book, and start you on this wonderful journey that answers so many questions.
How to Rejoice in Suffering
In 1 Peter 1:7, our faith is described in this way, "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"(NIV). Gold, the most precious metal on earth is said to be of lesser value than our faith, especially to God who values our faith above everything.
Gold goes through a process of purification, many times over. It gets put in a raging fire so that the impurities may raise to the surface and can get scraped off, before starting the process over again. In the same way, our faith is put through trials so that we may be more pure. God wants a relationship with us, and for this bond to become stronger, so that we draw into a more intimate relation with the creator who made us.
Later in the book, Peter says to the reader, "Do not fear what they fear: do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord" (3:14, NIV). In this way, we are told that the Lord is faithful and He will not leave us in our despair. We are a part of God's kingdom and set apart as citizens of His. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:5, "We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." We are in exile here on earth, and the events that occur on this earth prepare us for the relationship we will have with God in heaven.
Just as a caterpillar turns into a butterfly and a seed into a beautiful flower, so we too, must go through our own transformation. What would happen if the caterpillar decided to give up in the process of metamorphosis because weaving the cocoon was too difficult a task? Or the seed gave up because the ground was too dry and there was not enough sunlight? We would miss out on the beauty that God intended for us. So in the same way, we go through trials and tribulations to then be set apart as God's people and become more beautiful in our relationship with Him.