This phrase is repeated time and again in the Epistles when the writer is talking about trials, temptations and tribulations. Peter says it. Paul refers to it. James talks about it. Jesus tells of of it and the writer of Hebrews tells us all about the saints of old who dealt with it.
Bad news for those of you who think this life is supposed to be a bowl of cherries.
And despite what Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller and Joel Osteen say, this life can suck and suck big time. You WILL experience hard times. Even people who seem to have soloed under a lucky star have hard times. They must just hide it better than most.
Especially for Christians. It's almost a sin to admit your are going through a hard time. It's almost a sin to admit you're struggling with your faith. And if you do admit it, you must put up a good front, wear your troubles like a badge of honor showing how much more spiritual you are than the next guy.
But you will experience trials. Jesus told me. Paul reaffirmed it. (Not only in words but by experience!) Peter and James told us what it will gain us. And for three weeks straight, all the sermons at church have been about trials, tribulations and our response to them. What it should be and what it usually is.
A couple of thoughts have come to mind regarding this issue.
1. I'm a putz. I'm worried that it's been nearly 3 months since my suspension and the gov't hasn't decided my fate. My future is in limbo and I'm dealing with personal issues that I have ignored and hoped they'd go away. It is a trial for sure but I'm reminded there are those who's trials are a hell of a lot worse than mine.
What about the guy who's got a wife and two kids and cancer? What about the woman who gives up everything to care for her senile parents? What about the mother of a soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice in war?
I'm a schmuck whining about my problems. Not that my problems aren't real or aren't causing problems, it's about perspective.
In a little while they will be gone.
2. I've noticed that I have become more cynical after each trial. Less trusting of my fellow man. Less trusting of God. Yes...at times, I don't trust God. I get mad at Him. I scream and yell and cuss Him out. I tell Him he has no idea what He's putting me throught, again, and that I've had it.
Like I said, I'm such a schmuck.
God is slowly grinding away all of the crap that evangelical Christianity has shoved down my throat for the last 40 years. Real Live Preacher tells his story and I find I'm sympathetic to it. It rings true to me. Follow this link... RLP's Story
Bono echoes some of this in the song "In A Little While" from the album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind". He's talking about a girl but the first two verses, at least through my ADHD filter, follow what Peter was talking about in 1 Peter 1:3-8...
In a little while
Surely you'll be mine
In a little while...I'll be there
In a little while
This hurt will hurt no more
I'll be home, love
When the night takes a deep breath
And the daylight has no air
If I crawl, if I come crawling home
Will you be there?
In a little while
I won't be blown by every breeze
Friday night running to Sunday on my knees....
Slow down my beating heart
A man dreams one day to fly
A man takes a rocket ship into the skies
He lives on a star that's dying in the night
And follows in the trail, the scatter of light
Turn it on, turn it one, you turn me on
Slow down by beating heart...
In a little while I'll be out of this trial and not long after this one is over, another will come down the pike. Whether it's punishment for disobedience or a building of character I don't know and I've given up caring. It's a fact of life and I'll just accept it when it comes. Some day, my best life now will be beyond night...