What Has God Done For Me Lately?
1 Peter 1:6-9 You have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith… though it is tested by fire… obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I have met those who, in frustration, threaten God that they will quit him if He does not start to deliver. They feel that life is harder than it should be for someone who follows God and thus, if He does not begin to make life a little easier, it may not be worth it to follow God anymore. What good is it to follow God anyway, if He does not give me what I want? Like I said, I have met others who feel this way. I would never be so immature, right?
I have often gone to God with my list of things I need him to do for me. I have mistakenly understood faith to be about a magical being who makes life turn out the way I see fit. I say I believe in God but I am really just using him to get what I want. In doing so, I am still just following self and calling it faith.
When my kids pray that they have fun at school, have fun at home, and just have a really good fun day in general, I do not find it odd. They are kids. I find however, that I often do the same thing. I ask God to make life turn out just how I think is should and when it does not, I throw a tantrum, threatening to throw in the towel.
If my prayer is only for God to make my life easy and fun, then I am going to be frustrated by God and life. Peter’s words today reveal the great truth about life, faith and God. He says that life is not all comfort and ease. Life is fire and trials. He says that this is how God shapes me. It is in the fire and trials that I come to understand faith. Without those difficult times, Peter says I will not know faith and I will not come to salvation. Is it possible that Peter misspoke? Does our salvation really depend on going through the fires of life?
Can you imagine a child who gets everything he or she prays for? Can you see the future of one who has absolutely everything in life run according to what he or she desires? If we all got everything our flesh wanted, we would all be monsters. It is not in getting what we want that we grow, it is in being challenged and tried that we grow. Living a life only of ease and comfort, as it turns out, is neither realistic nor desirable.
It is of course, not wrong for me to pray for things I desire. I can and should pray that my kids are healthy and do well in school. I pray for safety on our upcoming road trip. I pray for my wife and children and my relationship with them. This is not wrong. If however, my view of faith in God consists of getting the easy life, then I will be disappointed in the reality of both God and life.
Life is difficult but it is in my difficulties that I become aware of my need for God. In my need, I come to rely on God and thus, I learn faith. It is the trials that remind me to keep my eyes off of self and on God.