Run for Your Life
Everybody has problems. But, ironically enough, often it seems as if evil-minded persons have fewer. The prophet Jeremiah prayed: “Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” (Jeremiah 12:1).
In a similar way, at one point the psalmist was inclined to feel like he was the only one who really had serious trials and obstacles in life. It appeared to him as if everyone else—especially the ungodly—seemed to be just sailing smoothly along without a care in the world. He found this disturbing. But finally, he testified, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end” (Psalm 73:16, 17). That end of theirs was a slippery slope down into perdition. Not a pretty picture.
The apostle Peter, a man of God whose life was ultimately ended by crucifixion upside-down, gives a precious reminder: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3–7). [Emphasis added.]
This issue of TheReformation Herald considers the acute trials of a few great men of faith. There are many more examples that could be given, of course; here is just a sample. We will see how these were tested intensively, yet, as the apostle describes, they come forth more precious than gold at the glorious return of Christ—which will come much sooner than we all may realize.
Like the faithful ones in Scripture, in these last days, many are to suffer trials and temptations that are nearly overwhelming—and they are driven almost to desperation. But the Lord has a solution in this situation: “Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:14–17). [Emphasis added.]
Yes, the Lord assures us that He will spare His faithful jewels who face the fire—and during the time of trial He invites us to fellowship with one another often, telling of His abundantly gracious goodness and His tremendously awesome power.
Perhaps you may not be able to enjoy deep, genuine fellowship with like-minded believers where you are. You may feel alone. But regardless of whatever your circumstances may be, this issue of TheReformation Herald is exactly designed to supply you with words of hope as together we consider some who have trodden the narrow path before us—”for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:4–6). May this be our mutual aim. Amen!