SIMILARITIES

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. I Peter 4:12 (NIV)

I’ve just finished reading a memoir from international evangelist, Sammy Tippit, Unashamed, in which he describes his faith journey. I was often uncomfortable as I saw him move from heights of great spiritual accomplishment to depths of despair; as he successfully ran the original Greek Marathon and then physically collapsed; as he braved underground ministry in forbidden countries and then trembled at “ordinary” threats. Yes, I was uncomfortable that this great man of God seemed so human.

And then I started looking at all the things Sammy experienced: suffering, faith struggles, weakness, humiliation, rejection, waiting, and so on. As I examined these tests, I had to admit that we all face “fiery trials.”  They may be different from Sammy’s, but they’re tailor-made for us.  There are no exemptions to the School of Suffering, and, while we all experience great mountain top experiences, there are also incredibly hellish nightmares. It’s just that most of us are not embarrassingly candid about them.

Just as we may vacillate from flying to walking and sometimes to standing, we can rely on the Savior to be with us at all times. We’re given his Spirit, and his Word protects us from those darts of the enemy that seek to penetrate into our very thought lives. We are created to follow and worship him, and he has provided the remedies for all those “fiery trials.”

Sometimes we don’t feel like soaring; we’re too weary to run; and we don’t seem able to even put one foot in front of the other. Does that mean we’re knocked out of the contest? Absolutely not. There’s even an answer for that. …After you have done everything, … stand (Eph. 6:13).

God’s got every aspect of our journey covered. Onward.

Father, thank you that you walk with us through each step of our lives. Remind us that our struggles are not unique—even your Son suffered as we do—and cause us to glorify you in all things. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.