Build An Ark: Letters From the Ranch

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Trials
“...An inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…In this you greatly rejoice,
even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”
Peter 1:4-7

Trials. No one really enjoys them, but those growing in the Grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus understand the necessity of them. My life has been full of trials—all producing His Life deeper in my heart; yet when I was younger these same trials distressed me. I just didn’t understand. I now treasure the trials and rejoice at the gold that is spun in my life through them. Suffering is not a bad thing, but part of our intimacy with the Lord Jesus.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. 1 Peter 4:12-13

From 1959 until 1987 I ran from my call to minister on His behalf. Even though I was an ordained minister and had been a full time pastor since 1975 I still had not accepted my call because the Lord had showed me the cost—a cost I was unwilling to pay. Trials. Trials that would hurt my family. In 1987 I said yes to my Master. Yes, I would pay any price to have His purpose fulfilled in me and through me. The trials came as never before, yet the Lord gave me Grace to stay on the Pathway. Along with the trials came great Joy and about seven years later He personally commissioned me. It is always good to obey and submit to His plans,

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’ Jeremiah 29:11-13

I would not have chosen the trials that we have endured. My father Soteros dying of a heart attack when I thought I needed him the most. The death of my dear friend Lois, my sister Mary Jane dying of cancer, my youngest daughter Grace having two bouts of cancer, my mother Lucille afflicted with cancer, my wife Deborah disabled with heart disease, the treachery of adversaries, the lies, slander and reviling of so called Christians. My plans would have been completely different, but He knew what it would take for me to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. He causes “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

The trials continue, my relationship with my Bridegroom grows more intimate, and as each trial completes His work in me, His joy abounds!

agape,
–john