"...you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
1 Peter 1:5-7
I decided to put the scripture at the top of the page tonight because I am trying very hard to understand what Peter is saying to Christ-followers in the early church--because I think He is trying to say it to me too. So, Let's unpack this passage:
If I am a Christ-follower, Peter says that I am shielded by by my own faith and through God's power. I am kept safe--shielded from the arrows of this world--by believing in the Truth of God's protection. I am shielded from this world until it becomes new--under Christ's headship. Then I won't have to be protected any longer for everything will be according to God's design.
I need to rejoice in the fact of this protection. Nothing can hurt me here. But...things feel like they hurt me here which is why I suffer. Suffering is the bad things that happen to me while I keep the fact of God's provision in my heart. Suffering is the world trying to "unshield me". I must choose minute by minute to stay under God's authority and protection. Then I will be safe whether I feel safe of not.
Suffering has to come so my faith, which is worth more than anything imaginable--even gold--may be proven to be REAL. Is my faith real? Suffering will tell me if it is. Easy times do not show me my true colors. When this suffering produces more faith and more decisions to stay under God's protection, then my life will result in PRAISE, GLORY, and HONOR because Jesus Christ will be reflected in me. I will have done something I didn't want to do (suffer) and continued to live ... and to love... and to praise the One who allowed it all.