Testing of Faith (1 Peter 1.6-8 (ESV))

“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. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,”

1 Peter 1.6-8 (ESV)

The wildfire started that early summer morning spontaneously. The hot wind whipped the fire into the sporadic palms dotting the dry grasslands of Belize’s interior. Palm trees set ablaze, burned, and exploded, spreading fireballs onto the adjacent dry grass. We were attempting to build a fire break through the open field to prevent the fire from spreading into the mission camp under construction. The wildfire was near deafening, a loud cacophony of burning grass, wind, and sporadic palm explosions. Mike sprayed ether into the bulldozer’s carburetor while I shoveled dirt nearby and watched the wildfire approaching. I choked as the wind changed direction. “We must get out of here!” I shouted, pointing to the approaching fire line.

Mike did not hear my warning. His focus was on the large yellow bulldozer that wouldn’t start. “We need to leave now!” I yelled at him as I jumped up on the bulldozer’s track while gripping his arm and pointing to the fire, drawing closer. He turned to look at where I was pointing. The wind had abruptly changed direction. It drove the fire quickly toward us, creating a circle around the bulldozer. It was an eight-foot wall of flames burning everything in its path. Barely visible to our left was a small opening in the wall of fire. We jumped off the bulldozer and dashed through the open space as it quickly closed behind us.

Can you remember when the Lord moved miraculously or recall an instance of answered prayer in your lives? I can look back and see several cases, including saving me from that wildfire in Belize. I can recall where He intervened in my family’s and others’ lives. Times when he moved us to reach out to others in specific ways. What stirs in your heart when you consider what God has done? Does it affirm His working for good in your life? Does it incline you to inquire as to the ultimate purpose? Do you view it as an event moving you toward conforming to the image of His Son?

As Believers, we do not know all the ways the Lord is working to build our faith, to strengthen our trust in His guidance. When the wildfire of troubles begins to encircle us, we need to consider His ways and activities and stand firm, trusting that He is developing us to maturity and will provide a path of escape or a way through. We must remember the times He moved on our behalf and for others. We need to seek His Word and trust his faithfulness. Take a moment and contemplate what God has done.

What rock piles do you have? From what wildfire has He saved you? Where has He delivered you? How has He comforted you? Let us consider God’s grace. So we can “let perseverance finish its work so that [we] you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4 (NIV) emphasis mine)

Why? Because when trials come, and they will, you can consider Him, and, yes, you can count it all joy.

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