In the past month, a childhood friend lost the father, a colleague lost the mother, I lost two mothers in my extended family, received news of family members who were ill and worried if they would make it, and also received news of family in financial distress worsened by the global coronavirus pandemic.
It has been challenging and nerve wracking processing all of this; some days its been downright depressing and overwhelming. My response when overwhelmed is to pray and study the Bible for wisdom and strength. In such moments, many turn to the book of Job and to the Psalms; recently I have drawn strength from 1 Peter.
The book of 1 Peter is written: “To God’s chosen people who live as refugees scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1 Good News Translation). These were Christians under painful persecution; some fled from Rome and were refugees in Turkey. These lost family, jobs, and homes; life was overwhelming, and they urgently needed answers.
Thus Peter starts his letter to them by stating in 1 Peter 1:3-7 (shortened) (Good News Translation): “Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus… he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death… Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine…”
Who is testing their faith? The book of Job in the Bible shows us that Satan is the agent that seeks to test our faith. In the midst of testing, we have this assurance from David in Psalm 23:4 – “Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, LORD, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.”
In these overwhelming worrying times, our faith will be tested severely; the purpose is to prove if our faith is genuine, sincere, and true; notwithstanding how dark the test might seem, do not be afraid, the LORD is with you, call on him!
Lord, let your light shine on us even in testing times, Amen!