Hope Rebuilds

“In this [inheritance in heaven] 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)

In the fall of 2018, my close friend traveled home for a holiday weekend. After an evening of celebrating and laughter with her family, she awoke in the middle of the night to her mom yelling, “the house is on fire-- grab your sister and get out!”  Everyone made it out in time. However, when the sun rose that morning, nothing remained of their house but distorted piles of burned rubble and ash. A home designed to weather storms and to be a safe harbor fell victim to a destructive force of nature. 

While your house may still stand, total destruction of your shelter is simply an errant ember away. Likewise, the earthly “security” on which you rely, -- whether a marriage, your job, or food on the supermarket shelves -- is no more secure than a house on sand. An irreconcilable grievance, layoffs, or even panic shopping behavior can demolish the security you rely upon in a day. Yet Peter says we are to rejoice. We can weep with those who weep, and mourn with those who mourn, yet with the deep-rooted faith that we are ultimately provided for in heaven. 

God is not testing our faith as some sort of experiment He engineered in heaven. For our benefit and His glory, a test of faith helps us identify our weaknesses so we might emerge stronger in our relationship with God. A weak faith is shallow and fruitless, unable to serve its purpose when the testing comes. The suffering endured is evidence of our union with Christ, a genuine reason to rejoice.

The flames that overwhelmed my friend’s house did not last forever. As days passed, the family sifted through rubble in search of anything that remained. In God’s great mercy, her dad’s Bible was unearthed. A singed page from the book of Psalms now sits framed on her bedside: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:11). It serves as her reminder to rejoice despite being afflicted by turmoil but never crushed. Her hope, our hope, is alive. Praise be to God. 

By Bethany Taylor

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