Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Faith Through Your Trials

Recently a letter from John Piper was put on the internet announcing his diagnoses with prostate cancer. Needless to say I was taken back a bit, I'm sure my reaction was fairly similar to other people's who appreciate John's work for the Lord. As I read the letter I was moved, deeply moved. I'd like to share some of the letter with you.

This news has, of course, been good for me. The most dangerous thing in the world is the sin of self-reliance and the stupor of worldliness. The news of cancer has a wonderfully blasting effect on both. I thank God for that. The times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet.

For example, is there anything greater to hear and believe in the bottom of your heart than this: “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)?

God has designed this trial for my good and for your good.
You can see this in 2 Corinthians 1:9, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” And in 2 Corinthians 1:4-6, “He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God . . . If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation.”

So I am praying: “Lord, for your great glory, 1) don’t let me miss any of the sanctifying blessings that you have for me in this experience; 2) don’t let the people of Bethlehem miss any of the sanctifying blessings that you have for us in this; 3) grant that the surgery be successful in removing cancer and sparing important nerves; 4) grant that this light and momentary trial would work to spread a passion for you supremacy for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ; 5) may Noël and all close to me be given great peace—and all of this through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.” I hope God will lead you to pray in a similar way.
(emphasis mine)

I don't know why it amazes me so much how he has responded to the news of this illness, but it does. If this man can stand before God and be thankful for his trial...a trial much more frightening than anything I've faced, I guess I've just been moved. If he can see this as a blessing where the world would have seen devistation; it encourages me to realize I can endure my trials and struggles and with the Lord I will get through and I will be better for the trial having been there. In our trials and struggles our faith gets stretched. We can either latch on to the truth, that Christ is with us even in the trials, or we can crumble. Obviously the better option is to hold on to Christ and allow ourselves to faithfully trust He will deliver us. And it is in doing this that our faith will grow and strengthen.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:24)

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