If you are a disciple of Christ, you will be no stranger to storms and suffering. God has ordained them for your good and His glory. Far too many in the church today miss the blessing in the storm because they are so busily engaged doing everything in their power to get out of it! Paul penned a word of encouragement to believers who were in the middle of the storm.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-8)
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)
As hard as it is to see when we are in the middle of it, Peter reminds us that our suffering—all of our suffering—is only temporary and for just a little while. He also reminds us to view our temporary suffering in light of the eternal glory that awaits us on the other side. In order to get lemonade, you must squeeze the lemons! In order to receive the promised eternal glory, we have to go through some storms.
Notice that some of the greatest blessings can only be received through the storms of life. Peter tells us that God Himself will perfect us, which is a great comfort for struggling saints. We are continually making progress toward that day when we shall be perfected in Jesus. To be sure, there are many times when our progress feels like one step forward and two, three, or even five steps backwards. But Scripture assure us that what the God of all grace began in us He will one day complete (Philippians 1:6); and the workshop God often uses is the fiery furnace of affliction.
To be confirmed, strengthened, and established is to be partakers of the infinite grace of the God of all grace. We shall be preserved. We shall be protected. We shall make progress. And all of this will be worked out to perfection through the storms that we must endure on this side of His finished work and faithful reign. So let us not be so quick to turn lemons into lemonade!
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
You see, the storms of life are not simply to be endured, they are to be embraced. The eternal weight of glory we are being prepared for simply cannot be compared to the momentary and light affliction we must pass through for a season. The refiner’s fire is, in fact, producing character in us that more and more each day reflects the character of the Beloved Son. Who of you reading this right now would not gladly embrace the storm winds if it means coming out on the other side more like Jesus?
Our God of all grace will give us all the grace we need to receive and respond to every trial we face and every storm we must pass through. As Paul assured us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). His grace is not only pardoning, it is empowering; it is not only cleansing, it is character-building; it is not only sustaining, it is strengthening. Because His grace is as abundant as it is amazing, let us take the lemons of life and lean into the lessons they are designed to teach us. Do that first, before you work to turn those lemons into lemonade!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!