None of us enjoy trials. Those fiery days that brush away our comforts like sawdust. Those freezing nights that claw at our peace.
It is in these times, that we often cry out that one-syllable yet guttural question to God, “Why?” And sometimes in those seasons, it feels like that question bounces off the walls until it returns to our chest unanswered.
Those are the days that we are reminded that we “see through a glass darkly” and not face to face. It is in those times that we are tempted to question God. Maybe not in His existence, but in the fact of His goodness.
We forget that the fiery days and the freezing nights are the crucible from which we are being transformed. That God’s redemptive work in us is not limited to our good days, but that He is faithful in the bad as well. That, in fact, it is in the difficult, horrendous times that God is often up to the most good.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Peter challenges our perspective on our pain. That our difficult seasons are not evidences of God’s absence in us, but of His work in us. It is the fires of the crucible that burn away our impurities to conform us to be like Christ.
Our suffering is the canvas upon which Christ paints the story of His love and redemption.
The Apostle James says it another way:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4).
James goes so far to say that the times in the crucible should bring us to joy. Not joy that suffering is happening in our life, nor joy at the situations that come our way, but joy in the fact that a work of redemption is happening within us. That in the midst of the chaos, God is tilling a garden.