9.25.13 "Faith is more important"

Today’s Scripture is:  1 Peter 1:6-9      The Message (MSG)

The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole .6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

As I read this scripture passage, it seems to me that God puts a whole lot of emphasis on our faith OVER suffering.   I know He cares about me…cares about my pain and my suffering…is with me in the midst of it…and will provide what I need to stand thru it….but I believe this scripture is saying that the faith I develop through the pain is what is most important to Him.  Ultimately, if I’m considering the outcome of my suffering…. the only “good” outcome is that I’ve changed or grown through it – or that someone else has changed or grown through it. 

God never said that I would not suffer or have pain while here on earth, so why do I get surprised or angry when I do?  His promise is not to save me from suffering… His promise is to strengthen me and save me from hell so I have a life to look forward to without pain or suffering.  There’s a big difference there.  Because of pain and suffering in my life now, I long for heaven – my true home, where I’ll have a “life healed and whole”.  It’s about perspective for me.   There’s no way I can do this perfectly, but if I can’t avoid pain or suffering, then I might as well be praying for something good to come out of it!

Last night I caught a little bit of “Dancing With the Stars”.  Valerie Harper is a contestant on the show and at the age of 74 is giving competitive dancing a whirl.  What’s so amazing about her isn’t that she’s 74… it’s that she has terminal brain cancer.  There is no cure for the type of cancer she has, but she has decided to live life to the fullest while she’s here.  I have no idea if she’s a Christian – she’s never mentioned it in interviews I’ve seen, but she has an incredible attitude about her illness and her suffering.  As I was watching last night, it showed her practicing with her partner.  As she was dancing around the room, he was sitting on the floor, leaning up against the wall, and crying because he was so moved by her courage and positive attitude. The way she was working through her pain and suffering, mentored and inspired her partner.   I’m not saying that we all have to just suck it up and be positive in the midst of our suffering – that’s not realistic – but as Christians, shouldn’t the hope we have of the life to come (where we won’t suffer any longer),  give hope to others in the midst of our suffering?  That same hope we have can inspire and bring hope to others around us and hope changes people, softens people, and opens people up to conversations about faith and Jesus. 

When I look at my life, I’ve suffered so little compared to others.  I just pray that if a time of great struggle, pain or suffering comes my way, I will consider the purifying of my faith to be my focus and will pray for something good to come out of the pain so there’s redemption in it.   That my faith will be what God has on display as evidence of His victory in my life!  Of course it’s God’s strength and my trust in Him that will enable me to do that!

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.  What are your thoughts on today’s reading.  What has God shown you through scripture today?