In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1Pet. 1:6-7 (NASB)
The wildfire started that early summer morning spontaneously. The hot wind whipped the fire into the sporadic palms dotting the dry grasslands of Belize’s interior. Palm trees set ablaze burned and exploded, spreading fireballs onto the adjacent dry grass. We were attempting to build a fire break through the open field to prevent the fire from spreading into the mission camp under construction. The wildfire was near deafening, a loud cacophony of burning grass, wind, and sporadic palm explosions. Mike was spraying ether into the carburetor while I shoveled dirt nearby and watched the approaching wildfire. I choked as the wind changed direction, blowing smoke, making it difficult to breathe. “We must get out of here!” I shouted, pointing to the approaching fire line.
Mike did not hear my warning. His focus was on the large yellow bulldozer that wouldn’t start. “We need to leave now!” I yelled at him as I jumped up on the bulldozer’s track while gripping his arm and pointing to the fire, drawing closer. He turned to look to where I was pointing. The wind had abruptly changed direction. It was driving the fire quickly toward us, creating a circle around the bulldozer. It was a five-foot wall of flames burning everything in its path. Barely visible to our left was a small opening in the wall of fire. We jumped off the bulldozer and dashed through the open space as it quickly closed behind us.
Can you remember when the Lord moved miraculously or recall an instance of answered prayer in your lives? I can look back and see several cases, including saving me from that wildfire in Belize. I can recall where he intervened in the lives of my family and others. Times where he moved us to reach out to others in specific ways. What stirs in your heart when you consider what God has done? Does it affirm His working for good in your life? Does it incline you to inquire as to the ultimate purpose? Do you view it as an event moving you in the direction of conforming to the image of His Son?
As Believers, we do not know all the ways the Lord is working to build our faith, to strengthen our trust in His guidance. When the wildfire of troubles begins to encircle us, we need to consider His ways and activities and stand firm, trusting that He is developing us to maturity and will provide a path of escape or a way through. We need to remember the times He moved on our behalf and for others. We need to seek His Word and trust his faithfulness. Take a moment and contemplate what God has done.
What rock piles do you have? From what wildfire has He saved you? Where has He delivered you? How has He comforted you? Let us consider God’s grace. So we can “let perseverance finish its work so that [we] may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Why? Because when trials come, and they will, you can consider Him and, yes, you can count it all joy.