(Sat. morning session 2)
Q: Why do things go wrong?
A: God's agenda is personal heart and life holiness, not our happiness.
In 1 Peter 1:3-9 we are told the reason why things do not go perfect for us, just because we are Christians. Peter speaks of "various" trials. This could be anything in your life that you wish were different. It could be something extremely grievous and painful, or something dull that drags on for years and years. Think about what Peter's saying:
Are you single but you wish you were married? Are you married but your marriage has grievances and sorrows you did not expect? Are you in a job that is not secure, or is boring, or you have a difficult boss? Do you wish you could have children and haven't been able to? Do you have many children but find this parenthood job is so much harder than what you expected? Do you have difficult family members? Are you struggling to make enough money to pay the bills? Are you a single parent trying to discipline all alone? Is it hard for you to make close friends? Do you feel like you are always out of place? Do you fail at most things you try? Do you struggle with your weight? Do you live with health problems and chronic pain? Are there painful memories and secrets that haunt you? Do you live in fear? Is everything going wrong all at once?
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
These are the kinds of things that can make our faith something pure and beautiful. Unpurified gold is not pleasant to look at. Neither is an immature faith that has never remained strong through any hardships. A beautiful faith is one that grows stronger and flourishes when life gets tough.
The reason I didn't mention any terrible tragedies above--like death of family member or martyr-type persecution, is because that is where our minds normally go when we hear the word trial. Of course those drastic things are included. But often we "check out" when it comes to viewing the smaller inconveniences of life under the refining perspective. But Tripp kept speaking of how our life is lived mainly in the smaller moments. It's in these small things where we must see God's hand refining us, as well as in the big, obvious hardships.
If we unconsciously believe that God's primary purpose is to make us happy, we will start to feel like He is not very good at His job. We will start to think: I would make a much better god.
But that is not God's first purpose. His first purpose is to make us Holy in this life. We will be infinitely happy with Him in heaven. But as long as we live here on this planet, God's first interest will be in leading us to holiness. Holiness, by the way, is the only way to be truly happy.
Uncomfortable Grace: this is when God is gracious enough to not leave us in a state of sloppy, immature faith, but gives us something irritating or frustrating in our life, that causes us to forsake putting our hope in this world, causes us to cling to the goodness of God despite it appearing He is neglectful of us, causes us to search the scriptures to understand His purposes rather than floating in sea of our own thoughts and ideas, shows those around us that we don't praise God just because he is our vending machine (what Satan said of Job), causes us to despair of our own abilities to live righteously by will power alone.
In your deepest heart of hearts, what kind of messiah do you really want?
Do you want a vending machine in the sky--pray it, get it?
Or a faithful, patient, perseverant redeemer, who is transforming you into His holy image, and in whose image is found all happiness and joy, that the world can never take away, because it is not found in the things of the world?