A friend told me a few weeks ago that she would have faith for me, when my own heart was not strong enough, and it was the best gift. That promise comes back to me over and over, a sort of walking stick to lean on, as I go. Some days you have to lean hard on the faith of others, because you feel the battle raging hard and the full vulnerability of your spirit. This is where the Family of God shines bright, when we stand shoulder to shoulder against the darkness and pray for one another, lift up our own faith to strengthen others in the fire. We truly do not know the battles another person may be fighting on the inside, and how powerful our words of encouragement may be in their lives. Peter assures us that all of us go through hard times– they are meant to strengthen our faith, to strip away the clutter and fog of this world. Walking through the fire is a normal part of any faith-journey, and we should not be surprised or dismayed by it. Some housefires are more obvious than others, but no Christ-follower is exempt, and we can’t afford to get so wrapped up in our own lives that we lose the time to watch out for the rest of the Family.
Because we can’t ever forget that there is an Enemy out there, a hungry predator in the night who desires only to cripple and destroy. Peter warns us to stay alert for him and fight back, be stronger together. It’s like the Wise King always said: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) These men understood how invaluable healthy relationships are in the difficult places of life. Even though we rejoice greatly in Jesus’ promise never to leave us, sometimes we still need someone with skin on, as my daughter used to say.
So when you are faltering in your own faith, weary of waiting and asking, let my faith stand for you. And when I have one of those days when it feels like a strong wind could blow right through me, I will reach out to you. Let us pledge to be the face of Jesus to one another, the tangible reminder of His power and presence with us in whatever we are going through. This is what the Family of God is for, and none of us should live as orphans in this world. And here is Peter reminding us again how very much we matter to our Heavenly Father: “…you are a chosen people….that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:10)
There’s a grace when the heart is under fire
Another way when the walls are closing in
And when I look at the space between
Where I used to be and this reckoning
I know I will never be alone…
Another in The Fire, Elevation Worship
There’ll be another in the fire
Standing next to me
There’ll be another in the waters
Holding back the seas
And should I ever need reminding
How good You’ve been to me
I’ll count the joy come every battle
Cause I know that’s where You’ll be
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 PETER 5:10-11