I know we have all heard this phrase, probably from our parents and if you are parents I’m sure you found yourself saying these words as well. Today while talking to my daughter the phrase really sunk in, and a recent sermon from Tim Keller came to mind. Keller was speaking on suffering and preaching from 1 Peter 1:6-9; 3:13-18.
In his sermon he pointed out that suffering is not only inevitable it is necessary. We live in a broken world full of sin, so we should expect suffering, it shouldn’t be a surprise. The fact that we don’t expect it, and are surprised by it compounds the affects of it, and keeps us from seeing the good that can come from it. verse 7 says
“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.”
Trials like fire remove the impurities in our faith, and draw us closer to God. Without trials our faith is mute, it bears no witness. Peter could have said he believed he could walk on water but he wouldn’t have grown had he not taken those steps, and even though he doubted and fell he learned a valuable lesson about trusting in God. Maybe closer to the point would be Job or Joseph. Both men went through trials they didn’t deserve, life wasn’t fair, but Gods goodness came through those trials. with Joseph “Mans intentional evil became God’s eventual good”(Max Lucado) and with Job while he lost everything he grew in a deeper understanding of who God really is then actually prospered two fold.
In our situation there was a fight, a younger brother didn’t share equally and an older sister that was wronged was screaming about the injustice. A teachable moment was found and a sermon on suffering combined with life’s not fair spoke into the heart of a child that is suffering. Speaking to the injustice of the sharing situation I explained first your right what he did wasn’t loving, but neither was your reaction. And judging from your reaction you have an expectation that life should be, and that things should go well. Sweetheart I said, life’s not that way, we had just read about how Jesus was born to come save us, he didn’t die so life would be easy for us, and he never promised life would be good or easy, but we have hope because he promised he would be with us. People won’t share, they will be mean, bad things will happen, life will be tough. But we need to be loving, and knowing that truth about life should make it easier because you know what to expect. Expect it not to be fair, and to be hard, but know God is always with us.
Then an amazing thing happened, the words sank in, and she didn’t hear her father but the voice of The Father, a tear streamed down her cheek and I knew she applied this truth to a deeper hurt, a tougher struggle she’s facing, and she hugged me and cried.
It’s great to hear great sermons and glean truth, and miraculous when they apply to our circumstances, it’s these moments I hear his voice the loudest, feel his comforting presence the strongest.