Monday, September 6, 2010

Think it not strange...

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." I Peter 4:12, 13

I read those verses in my Bible reading the other day and immediately my mind jumped to, "Oh, no, I wonder what fiery trial I should be expecting. What's going to happen??" Rather than a calm, confident rejoicing in the Lord, I found myself imagining all sorts of possible trials, and fearing that I would somehow disappoint my Lord in the midst of them. Of course, I know that that is a wrong response, so last night before I went to bed, I spent some time digging into the verses, to see if perhaps there was a little comfort hidden there. I got out my Strong's concordance and Thayer's Lexicon and looked up "strange". Hmmm.... the first 'strange' and second 'strange' in these verses are different words in the Greek! The primary meaning of the first 'strange' is to receive as a guest and the second 'strange' means a guest-friend. So I am to receive as a guest-friend fiery trials? How can that be? I would prefer to stay as far away from fire as I can, thank you very much!! As I kept going with my detective work, however, I found that the "fiery trials" didn't necessarily mean that I would be burned at the stake, but that just as a master goldsmith will burn away impurities in the gold until he can see the reflection of his face, so our Master Goldsmith will refine us through hardships so that I can someday stand before Christ with joy, a reflection of His glory. Isn't that what we all want??

So, my friends, host as a dear guest-friend the hardships that God is using to refine you. Don't fear tomorrow, but have a calm, confident rejoicing that your Master Goldsmith will only apply enough heat to purify you, not to burn you up completely, and someday - soon! - you will be able to stand before Him and see Him in His glory. How's that for a precious thought??

May you be blessed this week, and be a blessing!

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