Over the last few months I have felt a strong leading in my writing and preaching to urge people to wake up and be prepared for suffering and trials. I have also found many pastors and elders who are under the same conviction. Something is going on in rural Minnesota.
What’s going on? I hope the early stages of revival. The first sign of revival is the confession of sin from believers, the church. I am beginning to see that and I am encouraged. At the same time some dear brothers and sisters in the Lord are facing new trials or the ones they have faced have increased with intensity.
Do you remember why do we have trials? It strengthens our faith for the days ahead. Listen to what it says in 1 Peter 1:6-7: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” God is doing His work refining believers, getting us ready for battle.
I was visiting with a Christian friend whose business partner is very ill; they have been business partners for a long time. The man said, “I have had to face the reality that he might not be coming back.” He added, “It is not like he is on vacation and will return.” Through this trial, this man realized his business partner was and is his best friend. They are brothers in the Lord and more. We prayed together for the healing of his “closer than a brother” business partner. It woke me up to the fact how we take those close to us for granted.
I just got off the phone with a friend who is a tenant. She lost her husband about a month ago after a long battle with heart problems. She looks/sounds relieved but grief has a way of taking the sparkle out of our eyes. All this reminds me, how deeply we need one another in spite of our petty differences. We need to encourage and build up. We need to listen, laugh and love. Yes, in the same breath it’s as simple and as complicated as that. We need to demonstrate the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ in a hurting world. Let’s care for one another and love one another like the world has never known.
The distinguishing mark of a Christian is this—how we love one another. “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22-23.
And as Jesus commands us in John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Let us all love on to God’s Glory.