“…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” – 1 Peter 1:2
How is your day going right now? How about this month? How about this year? How is 2017 going for you? For some of us, our answer can be, “GREAT!” But, for some us, and maybe for most of us, we find the day to day, the month to month, and the year to year, to be challenging in all of life’s different seasons. If you’re vulnerable enough to admit it, in these difficult seasons, from parenting stresses, to marriage troubles, to maybe a diagnosis you were not prepared for; as Christians, I think we anticipated a different outcome.
I mean, you’re a follower of Jesus. Your life is suppose to be easy peasy and worry free, right? Christianity can be too often portrayed as an easy way through life. Some unfortunately teach that you’ll be wealthy if you follow Jesus, your life will be worry free if you follow Jesus, and you won’t experience the heartache this world so often dishes out.
Peter shows us, in the beginning of his letter to the early Church that this just isn’t the case. In fact, he writes to the dispersion. He writes to a people group that severely suffered, in the one life they were given. But, no matter how severe our suffering, Peter encourages us to understand these things:
1. God knows all that we will experience in our life
We serve a personal and present God! The Word of God encourages us to know that He knows, and has foreknown our circumstances. Even on our worst days, when loneliness in the moment haunts our hearts, our heavenly Father is in the mess with us, guiding us, comforting us, and giving us a peace the surpasses any amount of anxiousness. But, we must trust and know He’s in control. We must pray in those moments that God’s presence would be made known in our suffering. Speak to Him and hear from His Word to you.
2. God redeems our difficult situations
The Word of God encourages us to know that He knows, and has foreknown our circumstances, and while He may not be the cause of our heartache and frustrations, He works to thwart the plans of our enemy, by redeeming what was meant for evil and makes it good. The Spirit of God, in our difficult seasons of life does two things here.
a. The Spirit Sanctifies
In the midst of the stormy seasons of life, the Holy Spirit leverages those seasons to make, mold, shape, and grow us closer to Jesus, and to mature more into His likeness. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God can turn every situation in our lives, every sorrow, every want, every need, into an experience that brings our Savior closer and us closer to being like Him.
b. The Spirit empowers our obedience
It can be difficult to hear God, and especially continue to trust and obey Him, in the midst of painful situations in our lives. We can too often be tempted to throw in the towel, give in to sin, or find our own way out, and Peter reminds us to stay faithful to the promises of God. Our first obedience, for anyone, is to accept the Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Savior, accept His gift of salvation. And, our second obedience is to live our lives, everyday, surrendered to God’s plan for our lives.
Our heavenly Father knows our troubles, as they come and go, in our lives. While He never promises that we will not experience troubles, He most certainly promises to be powerfully present in our lives, and to transform us to be more and more like Jesus, as we trust and obey Him.
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I am the Lead Pastor at Stonebridge Church, Nixa, Missouri. I have been married to Heather for 13 years, and we treasure our amazing little girls, Adalay, Millie, Nora, and Elsie.