"Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold - gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away - and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:7 NIV)
Hmm . . .praise and glory and honor. Though in the midst of our trials we get caught up in "it's all about me" mindset, our focus should properly be on God and His great love for us! Of course, I am speaking not as an example, but as a fellow flawed, imperfect, stumbling, bumbling human being!
In the midst of our trials, we don't usually feel grateful, thinking that this is okay, because the proven character of my faith is being tested! I think more often we feel abandoned by God, or at least like our needs/ wants/ desires are on His "back burner." We must remember though, that God is, indeed, intimately involved in our world - and in our lives! He wants us to spend eternity with Him in heaven and so allows us to be refined, rehabilitated, renewed and be made as close to perfect as we can possibly achieve. Fortunately, He understands that our perfection will not be realized until we're in Heaven with him!
In the midst of our trials, the Bible tells us to rejoice! In the midst! Be joyful! Worship God!
"Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs" (Psalm 100:2 NIV).
"yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior" (Habukkuk 3:18 NIV).
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12 NIV).
"[Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds," (James 1:2 NIV).
I don't really like having the character of my faith tested. In fact I don't like it at all! Sometimes I am just too worn out, physically, emotionally, spiritually to deal with some of the trials life throws at me. I needed God's inspired Word this morning to remind me that God loves me too much to allow me to have an "easy faith"; a faith that is never tested never grows deeper; a faith that is never challenged, never gains strength.
The praise and honor and glory go not to me--but to God and the unparalleled, inexplicable, gracious and unspeakable love God has for us, revealed in His Son on the Cross.
I know you're tired. You may be ready to give up. I know it's hard. You may feel overwhelmed. I know. Remember, the character of our faith is deepening, strengthening and broadening. And our faith is more valuable than gold. Because in the end it is all we have.
Blessings on your journey,