Thursday, April 30, 2020

Going Through, Coming Out, Preparing For - Martin Wiles

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12 NLT

When a youth, I never recognized I was going through, coming out of, or preparing for.

As a young boy, gliding through the inlets of the Santee River with my maternal grandmother in her wooden boat brought joy to my summers. She loved fishing better than any man I had ever known. Many years later, she couldn’t remember my name thirty seconds after I had told her who I was. Her will to live gave up shortly after her heart gave out.

My paternal grandfather delivered ice cream to retail stores and Mom and Pop businesses. And I spent all summer at his house helping him do it. Nothing compared to riding in the old truck with the windows down and eating all the ice cream I wanted. On the sultry summer days, sticking my head in one of the back compartments to retrieve ice cream for customers provided just the cool off I needed. Years later, I watched him point upward and tell me he was going home. And not long after that day, he did.

I loved sitting on the porch with my maternal grandfather. He farmed for a living and rose early in the morning, long before the sun peaked over the pines that surrounded some of his farmland. When the first rays of light surfaced, he went to the porch to await the sun’s arrival. And if I happened to be staying with him, I went too. Ten years later, I watched as one stroke after another slowly took his life.

Somewhere along life’s journey, I learned what Peter told early believers not to do: be surprised by the trials of life. I discovered I’m either going through one, coming out of one, or preparing for one. Life has been a series of trials for me—and I’m sure more will arrive before I breathe my last breath. But not only for me. Everyone I meet can say the same.

Since we’re in this together, it only makes sense for us to have compassion for everyone we meet. They need comfort, encouragement, guidance, or caution. They are somewhere in the mix of the three stages—and will be for the remainder of their lives, just as I will.

Trials are the mix of life. As you experience yours—while leaning on God for strength—ask God to help you care for others who are on the same journey.

Prayer: Father, teach us important lessons as we go through, come out from, and prepare for life’s trials.

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