Oh, joy, that seeks me through the pain;
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
and feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be
And rejoice my heart! Rejoice my soul!
My Savior God has come to thee
Rejoice my heart! You’ve been made whole
By a love that will not let me go
–O Love that will not let me go
The day Eric left for the Middle East, I started a sermon series on 1 and 2 Peter given by Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church. The series is called Trials and I first chose it because I was trying to memorize a few verses of 2 Peter 1 and also wanted to listen to more sermons while at work…it seemed like a good idea to get some context on what I was memorizing. And of course, I had to start at the beginning! Man, this series is kicking my butt in the best way possible. The Lord has put up a huge neon sign showing me where He wants to mold me in this time before Eric and I get married.
It started with fear of man, headed for reaction in times of suffering, and just finished up humility. And this is just 1st Peter. Ouch.
1 Peter 1:3-9 says that even though we suffer in this life, our response should always be to rejoice in Christ. I feel silly regarding my current state as suffering, I know that there are worse circumstances than being away from your fiance for 6 weeks but it is so easy to want to wallow in my loneliness. There are days when I just want to lay in bed and dwell on how much I miss Eric. We all “suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (v. 6) but what I am seeing in this time is that when we fix our eyes on Christ, it gets easier. Suddenly, worldly trouble is not as life-threatening as it appeared.
That last couple lines of the song above are where my hope lies. During this time away from Eric I am constantly being reminded on my wholeness. Christ came that I may be justified by His grace. I am a child of God, “holy and dearly loved” (Col. 3:12). This Savior of my soul is never going to let me go. And if the Creator of the world has me in the palm of His hand, there is nothing I cannot get through. Not by my power but by the power of He who raised Christ from the dead (Rom. 8:11).
SIDE NOTE: I love this video: Truth by Ravi Zacharias.
Eric is not my source of joy. I rejoice in my Savior because without Him, I would never have been set free. When he returns, I will get to enjoy his presence (and his amazing smile) but that is only possible because my Redeemer rescued me from my old self. And she is never coming back.
I will face trials at all points in my life. Peter says that these 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.” (vs. 7)
I want to grow in godliness and love and 2 Peter 1:5 says that begins with faith. So I want to first prove that I have genuine faith and allow the Spirit to lead me to the next step. So I will rejoice in Christ and keep my eyes on Him.