"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."
~ I Peter 4:12-13
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
In our humanness, we seek to ease our pains, remove our trials, extinguish all evil. We chase after it and seek solace in so many things that only prove to disappoint... not just drugs or alcohol, but in relationships, money, homes, careers, achievements, etc. None of these will ever completely fulfill. No, instead, within them, we often bump into the very thing we seek to avoid... trials and tribulations. Conflict and confusion.
We all do it. We all seek that which is beautiful and perfect, a life of ease and void of trials. But we seek amiss. And we know that, too.
We know we need God. Jesus. His Holy Spirit. But so often we seek solace in everything but the only One who can satisfy.
And let me clarify just a bit... even in seeking God, as long as we remain on this earth, we will only see Him as through a mirror dimly (I Cor. 13:12). Our sinful human nature and the constraints of this finite earth distort our view. Only when we reach heaven and enter that eternal state will we see Him as He fully is. What a glorious day that will be!
Friends, I don't know what 2013 will hold. I look at the headlines, read blogs, talk to friends, and meditate... perhaps too much on the wrong thing. It looks scary. Health concerns and financial hardships of the future seem inevitable, but not nearly so frightening as the growing persecution of believers. In my humanness, I want to run back to the past and hide in memories of "better" times and pretend this reality isn't so. It seeks to consume me.
But real freedom is in the good fight... by seeking the face of God. Drawing near to Him. It always comes down to the same basic things that we too often neglect...
• Read the Word
• Study the Word
Dear friends, many of you are kindred spirits in that you love homesteading and homemaking. These are good things and worthy of our time and pursuit. But these are finite things.
Will you also be a kindred spirit with me even on those things which are eternal... the things which will help us face 2013 like true soldiers of the cross? Will you take up the only armor that will really protect you in the battle against good and evil... the battle we face not as "Americans" but as human beings?
Dear sisters, we will not perfectly achieve our goals. No, we will fall short in some way. I challenged myself to read the entire Bible again in 2012 and I only made it about 3/4 of the way through. Did I fail? NO. I read 3/4 more than I would have and I am that much closer to knowing my Savior better than I did in 2011.
Does that mean I'm home free? Not hardly. I'm like an Israelite of old. Without the Holy Spirit, I would/will do what is right in my own eyes (Judges 17:6) and would/will turn to my own ways (Isaiah 53:6). I must hold fast to the Word and My Savior. And I need constant reminders to do so.
This post has been for me as much as anyone. I must rehearse these truths over and over so that I don't forget and lose sight of that which is eternal and those things that will carry me through 2013.
I pray it does the same for you.
How will you cling to God in 2013? Let us encourage one another and share here in the comment section so that we know we are not alone!