I commend for you the blog post Being Salty. And consider these words from Peter:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:3-7 ESV
I think of these things as a friend of mine and his family are going through the toughest of trials. My friend had multiple strokes that almost took his life and have left him confined to a hospital bed (for the time being anyway). At first, it didn’t look like he would make it after having two strokes that left paralyzed, uncommunicative and at the doorway to death. Then, he had a third stroke. He is in his mid-50’s.
My friend has two children, one in high school, and the other a short term missionary with Youth for Christ. He and his wife suffered the loss of their oldest child just over a year ago. He was only of 25 or 26. He also suffered to a stroke after his spring finals at Moody Bible Institute.
Their son was an enthusiastic, committed follower of Jesus, very talented and influential in his faith. He was preaching already at a small church and leading worship. He was a leader among the youth who lived in community with him.
Their son was the type of person of which the question, “Why?”, is the natural, inevitable response to his passing. And now my friend lies stricken by the same condition, laying for weeks in constant care, not knowing what the future may bring for him or his family.
They have been through so much.
Ten days ago, his wife wrote for those who are sharing the trial this family is going through:
“The highlight of my summer was singing 3 worship songs over [him] with [our daughters] tonight. The girls sing so beautifully, they are so good at harmony and the joy of raising our voices together on How Great is our God, Amazing Grace and Shout to the Lord was health to my heart. I think the Lord smiled.”
There have been ups and downs, small victories and big setbacks. Their insurance has denied coverage of the planned next step in the recovery process, and they face a very uncertain future. Yet, they continue to press into God. They pray. They worship. They encourage the people who are standing, praying and hoping with them.
This is not a matter of denial of the circumstances. They stand firm in the peace and joy of knowing God in the midst of these circumstances. They are proving the genuineness of their faith—more precious than gold.
Whether we live three score and ten years in relative comfort and abundance, struggle through life, or suffer an “untimely” end to life, cut “short” by circumstances invariably beyond our control, we have a God who cares, who knows exactly what we are going through, because He experienced the life and death we experience.
We serve a God who weeps when we weep. We follow a God who demonstrated His promise for us when He raised the human body He inhabited from death. He proved “that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-30-9)
And the testing of our faith proves its worth. The trials my friend and his family have experienced have proven the genuineness of their faith as they represent light and salt to all who know them – faith that is more precious than gold or anything else this world has to offer.
“the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
1 Peter 1:7, 23-25 ESV