But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
-Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)
Sometimes, we simply need to be encouraged. We need someone who sees our work and recognizes the face of sacrifice. We wonder if any of the hard choices we are making matter and if we are the only ones paying this high price for faithfulness to Christ. It gets lonely when you are suffering.
For anyone walking a path of obedience to Jesus, there will be storms and trials. If you call yourself a believer, and you are only ever experiencing the uninterrupted happiness of a life well-planned and well-lived, I would strongly recomend you take a check-in with your faith and also read 1 Peter. The prosperity gospel, which tells us abundant peace and joy are at our beck and call on this side of heaven for the mere cost of an approved prayer, is a mascarading light teaching death while promising life. If we are Christ followers, and to be found in Him is the ultimate goal, then surely there is some tribulation with our name on it.
But even though Peter tells us not to be surprised when the fiery trials comes, it is still a trial. And trials are… well, trying.
So, I would like to encourage you and encourage myself that the path we are on is not in vain. We are not forgotten by an unfeeling, capricious God who is arbitrary. We are beloved and choosen and held in perfect peace by the One who sacrificed Himself that we might be reconciled to His perfect righteousness even while we railed againt His goodness.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
And finally… from the same man who told us not to be surprised when the trials come we have this amazing promise:
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5: 10