"This means tremendous joy to you, I know, even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident — it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold ..." (1 Peter 1:6-7 PH)
In order to build your faith, God will give you a dream. Then, he'll urge you to make a decision. But then he'll allow a delay, because in the delay he matures you and prepares you for what is to come.
The truth is, you'll have difficulties while God delays. This isn't because he doesn't care about you or that he's forgotten your circumstances; rather, it's one of the ways he pushes you toward the deep end of faith.
As God delays, you'll face two types of difficulties: circumstances and critics. This is a natural part of life. God designed it this way because he knows we grow stronger when facing adversity and opposition.
When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt into the desert toward the Promised Land, he had one problem after another. First there was no water. Then there was no food. Then there were a bunch of complainers. Then there were poisonous snakes. Moses was doing what God wanted him to do, but he still had problems.
David was anointed king, and then for the next several years he was hunted down by Saul. Joseph had a dream of becoming a ruler, yet he was sold into slavery and thrown into prison on a false charge where he languished, forgotten. Imagine the difficulties Noah had building a floating zoo!
The Bible says that when Moses died, Joshua was appointed the new leader. Moses led the people across the desert, and then Joshua led them into the Promised Land. Did he get the easy part? The Bible says that when the Israelites entered the Promised Land, there were giants in the land. Even in the Promised Land there were problems!
God does this because he is building our faith and character. When we finally come to a place where the difficulties become so bad, where we've reached our limit, where we've tried everything and exhausted all our options, it is then that God begins a mighty work through us: "This means tremendous joy to you, I know, even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident — it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold ..." (1 Peter 1:6-7 PH)
Talk About It --
- What circumstances has God brought you through that have grown your faith the most?
- What do you think about viewing your critics as God's way of growing your faith?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.