I don’t know what it is about dates.
As human creatures we are hard wired to acknowledge anniversaries and build memorials. We can’t let the date just change to the next day without remember the last time we passed by this way. What was it like then?
It’s the magic of the Timehop App, and the genius of journals and the heart behind the command to build piles of stones in the wilderness: that we would mark and remember and consider.
A few weeks ago, I woke up on a 5th. It was the 12th time that number had popped up on my calendar since last December. It has been a year of 5th’s since one of the hardest days of my life.
It was sweet of God to prepare my soul through 1 Peter with all the glorious truth it holds to vanquish the lies that satan whispers even louder on days like December 5th.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)
Those two verses alone are filled with the power to defeat the three lies that plague me most in pain.
LIE #1: Suffering is meaningless.
We talk often about how the eternal weight of glory will outweigh the trials of this present time and that is a great truth that enables us to endure, but it isn’t enough to make pain feel meaningful.
To fully defeat the lie that suffering is pointless, we need to remember we have access to a greater promise. This light and momentary suffering will not just be outweighed by glory in the next life. This light and momentary suffering is preparing that glory for us.
Read 1 Peter 1:6-7. Our suffering is happening so that it can result in something. So that it can create something.
Faith is how God protects you – keeps you – so that you can make it to the destination he has for you. He is willing to do whatever it takes to grow and test your faith – not because He’s cruel, but because He made a promise to guard you and He’s keeping it.
LIE #2: There is another way.
I love that Peter clarifies in 1 Peter 1:6 that we are grieved by these trials if necessary. What a glorious two words to defeat the worst satan has to throw at you. Because the minute you start to believe that your trials have meaning and that they are building something for you, the automatic next step is to wonder why it had to be this trial. You look around at other believers and they aren’t suffering the same way you are, so you wonder: couldn’t God have worked out the same result another way?
It’s human – not necessarily sinful – to ask God for another way. Jesus asked in the garden: if there is another way, let’s do it that way.
But when suffering comes, settle it in your heart that God has spoken. You are grieved by a trial under one condition: if necessary. Trust Him. He doesn’t pick this path for you for fun. He is writing your story the way it has to be written to get you home to Him.
LIE #3: If you believed the truth, suffering wouldn’t hurt.
Read 1 Peter 1:6-7 again. Your faith is not being refined by trials. It is being tested and refined by grieving trials; by the pain of trials.
Peter says: rejoice, though you are grieved. It’s an oxymoron. Just like many things in this crazy gospel of ours, it is a seeming contradiction. The kind of faith God is producing in you by His power is born out of grief and loss and hurt. It cannot be gained without feeling pain in the deepest and most sensitive parts of your soul.
And so, even as that pain is being felt, there is a joy because we hear our Father remind us through 1 Peter that our pain is like the terrible pain of labor, evidencing that we are being brought closer to the thing we crave more than anything: the revelation of our Jesus.