"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good" (1 Peter 4:12-19).
Yesterday while out making visits to our shut-ins I was involved in a 2 car accident. By God's grace no one was seriously injured. After I was removed from my vehicle the lady of the other vehicle became outraged. She wanted to know who was going to repair her car. Needless to say, I was not too concern about our vehicles, but more concern for her 4 year old who was visibly upset from the accident. I was able to tell her everything would be o.k. before the officers had me to sit down.
As I sit here this a.m mediating on the past 9 months of my life and the different situations I have encountered both spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially I am reminded of the great promise God has given to His people from 1st Peter. Although, I will never understand many of the situations my family and I have been through or are going through I know that the infallible Word of "God is true and never changes" (Mal 3:6).
Therefore, why should I be surprised at my situation? All these things God has sovereignly ordained in my life to test, try, and purify my faith in Him. I am grateful to still be alive after yesterday's accident. I am thankful for God's hand of protection upon the other car, especially the little girl and her mother. I know cars can be replaced and repaired, but to see that little girl so upset was very disturbing. However, I am unsure what God is trying to teach me, right now. I am confident He is working, guiding, and preparing me for the work He has called me to.
As I reflect on the last 9 months of radical changes in the Beck household and now this... I am grateful for this time of year, as it causes me to turn my attention off of ME and to seek Him! The time of year where "dead things" come "alive." The time of year God's creation screams out the gospel to His creatures. I am grateful God chose to reveal His gospel to me through the foolishness of preaching of the death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor 15:3-4) of Christ. Although things may look grim and I do not fully understand the purposes of them, I know Christ took the Father's full weight of wrath to fulfill God's Holy demands for ME. My sins have been "forgiven in Christ (Eph 4:32), I am free in Christ (Jhn 8:36), I have liberty in Christ (Gal 5:1), and I am joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17)." But, not only did Christ die, but "he was buried" (1 Cor.15:3) "carrying my sins far away, as far as the east is to the west, remembering them no more" (Ps 103:12). Yet, the grave could not contain him (Acts 2:24), Christ arose on the third day defeating death, hell, and the grave. Thus, Christ was "raised for MY justification" (Rom 4:24). Thus, causing me to repent and believe upon Christ is a glorious truth. It is what Matthew Henry calls "the gospel truth," that "ALL men everywhere should repent and believe" (Acts 17:30).
Have you repented? Have you turned to God in Christ by faith? If not you are under His wrath (Jhn 3:36) and your life is miserable and have no hope without Him. I urge you to seek Him, while He may be found (Isa.55:6).
In conclusion, I am reminded, "life is tough, but God is good!" Being found in Christ, I have the greatest gift of all... That is the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus (Rom 6:23). My prayer is not that God would remove the difficulties from our family's lives, but that through them our family would be conformed more into the "image of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29)", which He predestined us for. And that I not would find my identity in being a pastor, husband, father, or even in a car, but my identity would be found in Christ and Him alone. And that other believers who are going through trials, sufferings, persecutions in their lives today for the sake of following Christ, would by faith look to the lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8), for their great hope and promise. And as believers we can encourage and exhort one another unto good works (Heb 10:24), for the glory of God!