Do you wince at the thought of persecution, trial, and suffering? If suddenly the plenty and prosperity our nation has enjoyed was stripped from us, would you be found content? If the freedom our founding fathers carved out for us is lost due to activist judges, would you gladly endure sanctions, slander, and chains? If your health was suddenly weakened, would you bless God like Job?
The Apostle Peter reminded the early church that in the inheritance of our salvation we “greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (1 Pt. 1:6-7).”
Scripture repeatedly teaches this––and the testimony of Christians throughout history add their “amen” to this fundamental truth––it’s in the fire of persecution, trial, and suffering that renders the saint pure gold. Without the fire, dross remains. Without the furnace, the gold is impure.
For an example, a certain drunkard was miffed at a Salvation Army minister, Samuel Brengle, for confronting his sin. So, he hurled a brick at Brengle, striking him viciously in the head. During Brengle’s 18 month recovery, he composed a short book that encouraged many. In later years, when people would thank him for how his book had helped them, he’d reply, “Well, if there’d been no little brick, there’d have been no little book.”
That’s how Christians are to face suffering. We know God will turn a profit on our pain. Each week as we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we memorialize this truth: death leads to resurrection. Suffering produces glory. Praise springs forth from pain. Fire purifies our faith.
So come in faith and welcome to Jesus Christ…