Trials, tribulation, suffering, difficulties; name it what you want. We all face them. We all either know some who is facing tough times or has recently gone through some tough times. And if you can’t think of anyone, well, wait a week or two. It might be a friend, a family member or even ourselves. That is just the way this world is. Tough times are a part of life. And in some situations the tough times turn into tough circumstances we have to live with. Is there anything redeeming in our pain and difficulties? Can anything good come out of them?
The Apostle Peter wrote the following in his first letter;
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”1 Peter 1: 3-7
I remember reading in a past issue of National Geographic magazine (February 2005) that winter is volcano season. When snowfall builds north of the equator, volcanic activity increases worldwide. Volcanoes in both hemispheres erupt 18 percent more often during the northern hemisphere’s winter. Geologists attribute this increase to the winter water cycle which dumps more than ten trillion tons of seawater as snow, rain, and ice on earth’s land masses most of which is in the north. Now here’s the interesting part. The weight of this moisture depresses the North Pole by a tenth of an inch and swells the earth around the equator. The geologists believe that this warps the earth enough, that the pressure helps move the magma up and out!
Isn’t that what tough times, adversity, and troubles do to us. They bring pressure. The weight, the burden builds the internal pressures in our lives. Life becomes heavy. Issues are too weighty to bear. Difficulties seem to squeeze life right out of us. And it is here, in the most difficult of times, that our savior holds us up. It is here that the savior takes our burden. It is here when our savior relieves the pressure, but only if we call upon him. Only if we call out for help and open our hearts to his voice can we see his help. If we do not call to Christ, how can he take the weight from us? If we do not reach out to him how can he take our burden? Christ is able to help. He is able to lift life’s burdens. He is able to support us under the weightiest of trials. Faith calls out, cries out, and reaches out to the one who can help.
For sure, as Peter said, faith is tested in this life. Faith passes the test, not by going it alone, but by depending upon Christ. Call on him. It is a much better alternative than exploding under the pressure!