Dear Saints and faithful in Christ;
I pray that God’s peace, mercy and grace be with you in abundance, in the name of the Lord Jesus. These my friends, are not mere words of salutation, but the very means of God by which we find the strength not only to hold onto our faith, and to continuously grow in it, but also the power to proclaim the Gospel and exercise our ministries.
Growing in faith and putting our spiritual gifts to use can be and often are painful experiences. Paul, to the Philippians said
Philippians 1:12-14 – I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
There is nothing pleasant about suffering. There is nothing pleasant about being incarcerated, let alone when you are innocent! Yet, the process of sanctification and advancement of the Kingdom, the process by which God encourages other brothers and sisters in Christ to rise to the full use of their God-given gifts, is often extremely painful to the one He works through.
Hence we need His peace, we need His mercy, and we need His grace in abundance. For we need strength when we are weakened, we need His mercy when in frustration we sin against Him, and we need His peace when we feel that we are about to lose hope and start envying those who have a much easier life.
Psalms 73:2,3 – …my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
But just like in the case of Paul, we too can hope not only to understand why God is allowing us to go through these difficult paths, but also to begin to see the fruits of His works through us. Paul said…
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel…”
God granted to Paul to see the outcomes of his sufferings. We too can hope for the same. Let us therefore fully embrace His grace, mercy and peace toward us. Let us ask for those in abundance that we may find comfort in the midst of our challenges, while at the same time continuing to grow in faith, being progressively transformed into the image of Christ Himself.
To the One who loves us with an unfailing love. In His name, JESUS.