The Extent of Our Rejoicing

The holidays can be brutal.  The past few weeks I've read about so much pain which has  been mercilessly magnified by this season- you know the one where all is supposed to be "merry and bright." Maybe the holidays have left you feeling numb and disoriented too?  Well the new year is upon us and it's time to come out of our holiday fog and step into the light of love and purpose God has for us.

This morning I read 1 Peter 4:12-13 in the old King James Version and it stopped me in my tracks today.  God is calling us to rejoice!  To what extent should we rejoice? Get ready to have your mind blown ... to the same extent we have suffered.

"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:12 KJV

Peter is telling us to look at the dark days of our discouragement  and know that if you measured the depth of that pain and flipped it, that is the height of rejoicing God says is possible.  How?  By seeing God's glory revealed in us- when He returns but also right now. In the fiery furnace of suffering Christ is forging the beautiful character of His Son in us.  Do we see Holy Spirit purifying and bringing out a new steely strength and tenacity through our pain? Is God giving perspective on trivial worries that used to dog us?  Is Christ's character being formed in our minds and actions?  This is a cause for rejoicing!!  I have walked through a season of discouragement and sadness.  But God has used this pain to wake me up and force me to confront lifelong issues of insecurity and bitterness.  This is my prayer for all of you dear ones who walk this path with me--that God could sow seeds of His beautiful character in us and there would be an abundant harvest of new life so that "you may also be glad with exceeding joy!"

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