We’ve all been through difficult times. Some of us may be going through a hard time right now. None of us enjoy going through difficulties, but there’s no question that God works through the hard times. Some of God’s most important work in us may take place in the middle of hard circumstances. Peter wrote about faith in his first letter saying, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7, NIV 2011). The image here is of a refiner’s fire that burns away the impurities and leaves behind pure, precious metal. Our faith can be strengthened by our response to life’s difficulties.
One of the most famous quotes from the theologian C. S. Lewis is “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (The Problem of Pain, p. 91). This is not an easy truth, but we can probably all think of painful times which strengthened our faith, or which drew us closer to God.
Next Sunday we’ll be looking at an example of an extremely low time in the life of David. We’ll have a chance to see how this person after God’s own heart responded, and it will give us a chance to think about how we might respond to the difficulties in our lives. Do you know someone who is in a low period and needs some encouragement? This would be a great Sunday to bring them with you to worship. Celebrating God’s work with fellow believers, even when we are in a hard time, can bring encouragement and strength to carry on.
Ben Lee’s sermon yesterday was so encouraging to me! If you didn’t have the opportunity to hear what Ben had to say about “True Friendship,” make sure you find the link to the recording elsewhere in this E-Gram and go listen to it! You will be blessed! You should look forward to other members of the congregation preaching in the future, as well as hearing from Ben again. If there’s someone you’d like to hear preach, or if you’d like a chance to preach yourself let me know! I’d be happy to help you make that happen.
I’m very excited about what I see happening in our congregation. I hope you are, too!