Monday, May 12, 2014


In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed (also translated, grieved) by various trials.
1 Peter 1:6

Trials.  Don't like them.  Don't want them.  I've certainly had my share of them, however.  If you have birthdays, you have, too.  Life isn't life without them.  Learning how to walk through them with joy seems to be the Apostle Peter's focus.  Something inside of me pushes against the whole concept.  When in the midst of a trial of any kind, joy is illusive, grief and distress are realistic.  Wallowing in self-pity seems to be a natural default, at least for me; but, Peter negates this default, and asks his fellow believers to rise above it.  In my words, he's telling them, "Wait, no wallowing! You were made for so much more!"

So.Much.More!  It is the So.Much.More. I want!  Really, I do.  When I find myself up against a various trial, I want to find what the Apostle Paul did when he told the Philippians that he had learned the secret of being content.  I want these men to whisper that secret in my ear!  So, for the past couple of weeks during my quiet time, I keep coming back to the first chapter of Peter's letter, and reading it CAREFULLY.  Perhaps, somewhere in between the lines, I will hear those whispers straight from the lips of the Spirit of God, Himself.  I've let too many birthdays, and too many trials pass by me without the kind of joy-in-the-midst with which Peter challenges.  

With that in mind, I have unpacked this verse word by word.  I'll spare you technical details, but can I just say that it has been intriguing?  Each word has been a mystery to be solved in itself.  The end result has been that the beginning (I'm not finished yet) of this study leaves me with truths I need to tell myself over and over again.  I'm learning that the secret to contentment is work...mental work; and, mental work can be exhausting, especially if I default to pushing back.  Yet, as I read on further in Peter's letter, he tells me in verse 13 that I have to "gird my mind for action."  Literally, that means to "prepare for action by renewing one's mind."  One usually prepares beforehand.  If I really want the So.Much.More., then I have to lean into these truths that Peter lines out while in a state of in-between.  I'm a list maker.  So, right now, while the trials of my life aren't as dark and hard, I'm going over my Truth List on a day-to-day basis.  As I study more, I'm adding to it.  Let me share some of my So.Much.More.Lessons that will, hopefully, help me rise up above distress and grief when those times hit.

1. I have a Heavenly Father who has saved me (past), continues to save me (present), and will one day save me (future) and take me to a grand inheritance, where Jesus himself holds me, heals me, and renews me.  This is to be my FOCUS of GRACE at all times.  

2.  Trials come by divine appointment for an express purpose (this is the literal translation of the word, necessary).  The Lord IS USING all things to work good for those who love him, and are called according to HIS PURPOSE.  That purpose will be to conform me to the image of His Son, Jesus.

3.  The Lord loves me too much to let me stay the same...He no longer wants for me to live, and respond as I always have (hence trials)!

4.  Trials are always for a SEASON.  In scope of eternity, they are for just a little while (this is a must to tell myself when trials seem to drag on, and sometimes do, for years)...

5.  The trials that come are many colored and multi-faceted (the translation of the word various).  They are like the paint swatches at a hardware store...from light to dark, and every trial wears many different faces.

6.  Further study reveals that God's grace is also described with the same word various.  This reminds me that for every shade and color of trial I go through, God covers me with the same equal shade of grace!

7.  As I fix my eyes on Jesus and His grace, as I remember all that he has done, is doing, and will do because of His grace, I can find joy in the midst of sorrow, because in His presence is fulness of joy.  

In the middle of a trial, there will be distress and grief, I am not to minimize the sorrow.  Yet, there is a So.Much.More. available if I put these things into practice by remembering, girding up my mind, and preparing for whatever shade of trial is to come next.  Again, it seems, the Lord has affirmed what I am studying through the words of song. I had already written this when I heard this brand new anthem from Casting Crowns.  Let me leave you with this link, which says what I am saying, so much better!  We were made for so much more than ordinary lives.  It's time to more than just survive; we were made to THRIVE!

Did you catch the result?  Joy unspeakable; Faith unsinkable, Love unstoppable...anything is possible!  Yep, I was made for So.Much.More!

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