Welcome back. It’s hard to believe we are almost done with our journey of hope. I hope our time together has strengthened your faith and helped you love the Word of God like never before. God sees your commitment and intentionality, and He wants to help you finish strong.
Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to come and help us experience the kindness of the Father today! Come, Holy Spirit. Help us experience the Father’s heart and learn to love Jesus more. We surrender our time to you. Please speak!
Anyone reading this who has children would agree that birth is one of the most profound experiences of life. Stacie insisted that both our biological children be born without any pain meds. Anyone who knows my wife would not be surprised. She has an extremely high pain threshold. I gladly accepted the “birth coach” role.
My job was to stand at her side and do whatever I could to help. I rubbed her back for hours with a tennis ball, turned music up and down, prayed, encouraged her, let her squeeze my hand. It is a very important job, but by comparison very easy.
Several times during the process, I stared into her eyes while she was in deep pain. As we locked eyes, she said nothing, I knew she was struggling, and my heart was filled with such deep compassion. There was nothing I could do, other than stand there and say, “This will be over soon, and it will all be worth it. Come on, you can do this. You are going to make it.”
Some suffering in life feels like it’s worth it. Other times, difficulty feels worthless. Sometimes I want to argue with God about the unfair nature of the trials He allows me to go through. I often find myself wrongfully comparing my trials to the trials of others. This just discourages me because it’s such a waste of energy. When you are in the middle of deep pain, you need someone by your side to remind you that your struggle is going to be worth it. You will get through this.
Not everyone struggles well. I have known many people who jumped ship in this journey because they just couldn’t deal with the pain. Their marriage was too hard, the relationship with the kids didn’t feel like it was worth it, the ministry was taking longer than they expected, growth was less instantaneous than desired. The list could keep going.
Peter is finishing his letter the same way he started. He’s giving us hope for our struggle!
If we have placed our trust in Jesus, we can have confidence that one day we will enter into eternal glory. Jesus has paid the price. He is the means. We are saved only because of the kindness of God. Once again, His mercy gives us hope.
I need the hope for future glory, but I also need something for today’s struggles. I need to know that what I’m going through is changing me. I need solid affirmation that if I endure it will be worth it. I need to know that if God is not changing my situation, it is for a reason and He will use it for my good.
Speaking from experience with Jesus, in our passage for today Peter promises four things God does with our trials.
1. God will restore you. The same word is used to describe the mending of a fish net or resetting a bone after it’s been broken. He is the Healer. You may feel torn apart by your trial. Perhaps you have told yourself, “I can’t do it.” Maybe this season of life has left you broken. Areas of your life are scattered in pieces all over the floor. You wonder how you could ever be made whole again. But then God takes your broken pieces and makes a beautiful mosaic displaying His grace.
2. God will support you. The original word support in this passage means “to establish.” The word literally means “to make solid.” God is using trials to make you like a rock. When you lock eyes with Him, you will see His compassion. He has endured and can relate to your pain. Keep your eyes focused on Him. If you don’t give up, your character will be solid. Your trial is becoming your testimony.
3. God will strengthen you. Like a trainer would, He is helping your faith muscle grow. Your hope is increasing. Naturally, a part of us wants an easy life. There is a part of me that wants to eat gallons of ice cream and sit on the couch five hours a day, but a core desire overrides my wishful thinking. I want to be strong in faith. Perseverance grows our faith muscles. There is no hope without hardship.
4. God will place you on a firm foundation. Even now, He is laying a foundation you can trust. Your character is becoming more reliable. God has placed you on solid rock. Petros! Like Peter, your name is being changed. Jesus sees you for who you are becoming. This trial will make you a rock, but that can only happen if you don’t give up!
Don’t give up, my friend. We can persevere together. I know it’s hard, and I know for most of us it’s not the life we would have chosen. Rather than using our strength to try and outsmart the trial, let’s give our efforts to outlast it!
Take a moment to name your current trial. Now, thank Jesus for His help. Ask Him to give you eyes to see how He is currently restoring you, supporting you, strengthening you, and placing you on a firm foundation.
This brings to mind Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. Let us all gather and stand as one. As you said “Gods dream for your life cannot be accomplished without others. Know that Jesus is always with us. Dreams are not ment to be done by yourself. Amen
We were made for relationship. We were never meant to do life alone. Thank you for the wisdom your speak in your messages.
Ugh. This made me miss Jazmine so much. I will forever be in her debt. Love you, Jaz! ?
And also, it made me incredibly thankful for our team. What a joy a privilege to get to work side-by-side with men and women who love Jesus passionately and serve Him with their whole hearts (& skilled hands).
What a gift from God.
Father, thank you for your kindness! Help us to persevere. Help us see how you are working in our lives and redeeming all of our pain for your glory and our good.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Thank you! Being on a team is so much better on so many levels. It’s beautiful seeing how everyone’s gifts come together to serve God.
Thank you Pastor Andy! And what you wrote today reminds of what John Wooden (legendary UCLA Basketball Coach) said once. “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” So true, isn’t it? That passion and spirit is evident in our church, thanks to everyone really. God Bless!
Inspired to fountain out encouragement today. Thank you for your leadership and vision Andy!
I love this!!! Yes… It’s not about getting the credit, it’s about following God’s lead together. So awesome to see such a great culture of humility and honor at Echo!! ?
Love the Echo team ! Thanks for your leadership Pastor Andy
I love it when you see God issue a calling then a leader gets surrounded by people to help execute the calling; thus confirming the calling and our design for community. Good word Pastor!
Thank you to my small group! YP chilling, you guys are all amazing!
I have been blessed to be on many great teams in my life. Experiencing the body of Christ working together, and all of us using our gifts is truly church in its most truest sense. I love now being on the Sunnyvale team, Echo Compassion team, and SLT here at Echo.Church. God moves through teams when we yield our gifts to Him in a synergy that only He can bring in the ways that He does.
Thank you Pastor
“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” It’s wonderful to know that my suffering for God isn’t in vain. He has something better planned for my future. I’m putting my faith in Christ to lead me to a new beginning.
I love this: “Your trial is becoming your testimony.” My faith has been tested many times this year and I’m stronger because of my trials. My trials do not determine my destination.
“There is no hope without hardship.”
It’s the testing and struggle that allows perseverance, redemption, and growth. Amen!