Wednesday, 20 October 2021
Title: From the Father’s Perspective
Eleanor Woo

1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (ESV)

I recall the many conventions and conferences I have attended, and from the many keynote speakers I have heard – the authority and authenticity of God’s word in their lives, their insights and their experiences – they never fail to enthral me. How did they mature to be such men and women to be used by God, and reflecting His image? Surely not by having a smooth sailing, trouble-free life after their conversion.

The text for today is written by the apostle Peter to the diaspora believers in Asia Minor, and by extension to us who would read his words. For these first century Christians came, hardships of all kinds, which included intense political and social persecution. For us today, becoming a Christian does not exempt us from problems, trials, difficulties and sufferings. Hence, we should not be shocked when they come our way. Why?

Let’s view trials/sufferings from the Father’s perspective*.

In Romans 5:3-4 (ESV) “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Notice the sequence: sufferings => endurance => character => hope. In other words, problems and trials (suffering) help us become more patient (endurance) which in turn develops strength of character in us. This helps us trust God more until our hope and faith are strong and steady, maturing in the Lord.

Likewise, James 1:2-4 (ESV) “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Again, notice the sequence: trials => testing faith => steadfastness => perfect and complete => readiness. So, as trials come, it is not the time for a believer to be discouraged, depressed or miserable, but rather see it as an opportunity for joy because then steadfastness has a chance to grow. To become “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”, the key is to learn to respond to any situation and/or circumstance in life with steadfast endurance.

From the above two passages, God views our problems, trials, difficulties and sufferings as opportunities for spiritual growth and maturing. These verses are inspired by God and we know God does not lie! Trials are to be expected (1 Peter 4:12), so let’s face them with the right heart attitude and from the Father’s perspective. Those keynote speakers mentioned earlier, who have emerged from their life experiences as better and more useful vessels, are evidence of spiritual growth.

The song, I Thank You Lord (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cinA87zowWs) which was very popular during my university days, aptly expresses the spiritual lessons and human struggles we face during periods of testing and other difficult experiences. The Father’s perspective is to mould us. He loves us and His trustworthiness is not based on the quality of our circumstances.

PRAYER: Dear Father, I thank you for Your immense and infinite love. Help us to view life’s silent sufferings and trials from Your perspective so that we can be driven deeper into Your loving arms. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source:
*Fine, J & Fine, M (2014) One on One with God. Go Face to Face International, Inc.

班底浸信教会
每日灵粮
星期三, 2021年10月20日
标题:从天父的观点看
作者:胡少凤姐妹
翻译:陈健萍姐妹

【彼得前书4:12】(当代译本)

亲爱的弟兄姐妹,若有火一般的试炼临到你们,不要觉得奇怪,以为发生了什么不寻常的事。

我回想起我参加过的许多大会和会议,从我所听过的许多主题讲员所述 – 上帝的话语在他们生活中的权威性和真实性、他们的洞察力和他们的经历 – 总是那么地吸引着我。他们是如何成熟至这样的人,被上帝使用,并反映祂的形象的?肯定不是因为他们信主后过着一帆风顺、没有困难的生活。

今天的经文是使徒彼得写给小亚细亚的散居海外的信徒,并延伸到我们这些读他话的人。在这第一个世纪的基督徒,他们经历了各种各样的苦难,其中包括激烈的政治和社会迫害。对今天的我们而言,成为基督徒并不能免除我们的问题、考验、艰辛和苦难。因此,当它们朝向我们来时,我们不应感到震惊。为什么?

让我们从天父的观点来看试炼/苦难*。

罗马书5:3-4(当代译本)“不但如此,我们在苦难中也欢喜,因为知道苦难使人生忍耐,忍耐生品格,品格生盼望。” 注意序列:苦难 => 忍耐 => 品格 => 盼望。换句话说,问题和试炼(苦难)帮助我们变得更有耐心(忍耐),转而又培养了我们坚毅的性格。这有助于我们更加信靠上帝,直到我们的盼望和信心在主里坚定、稳固,成熟起来。

同样地,雅各书1:2-4(当代译本)“我的弟兄姐妹,当你们遭遇各种磨炼的时候,都要认为是喜乐的事。要知道你们的信心经过考验会产生坚忍。你们要坚忍到底,使你们纯全、完备、毫无缺欠。” 再次注意序列:磨炼 => 考验信心 => 坚忍 => 纯全、完备 => 准备就绪。因此,当考验来临时,信徒不应感到气馁、沮丧或痛苦,而应视之为喜乐的时机,因为这样坚忍就有机会成长了。要想变得 “纯全、完备,毫无缺欠”,关键是要学会以坚韧的毅力应对生活中的任何情况和/或环境。

从以上两段经文中,上帝将我们的问题、考验、艰辛和苦难视为 灵性成长和成熟的机会 。这些经文是上帝所启示的,我们知道上帝是不会说谎的!试炼是意料之中的(彼得前书4:12),所以,让我们以正确的心态和从天父的观点去面对它们。前面提到的那些主讲者,他们从生活经历中脱颖而出,成为更好、更有用的器皿,就是属灵成长的证据。

这首诗歌 “主,我感谢祢” I Thank You Lord ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cinA87zowWs) 在我大学时代非常流行,恰如其分地表达了我们在考验和其他艰难经历中所面临属灵的功课和人生的挣扎。天父的观点是要塑造我们。祂爱我们,祂的可信不是基于我们所处的境况。

祈祷:亲爱的天父,我感谢祢无限的爱。求帮助我们从祢的观点来看待生命中无声的苦难和考验,使我们能够更深入地投进祢慈爱的怀抱。奉耶稣的名,阿们。

资料来源:

* Fine, J & Fine, M (2014) One on One with God. Go Face to Face International, Inc.