Part 17 – To suffer (series continued)
Another benefit God built into suffering is “character,” Romans 5:4. It’s the Greek word dokime, meaning proven by testing.
Imagine a tire manufacturer wanting to prove their tires are tough enough to survive anything. So they do a video of a car with their tires on, and they drive that car over every possible road surface – blisteringly hot desert sand, swampy bogs, winter potholes, rock infested back roads, and even over nails and broken glass. Then after testing the tires in the real world, they take the tires off the car and use powerful machines to twist and stretch them, squeeze and pull them every which way, so that after all this testing they can hold a tire up and say, “What more could you ask of our tires? As you can see, they’re absolutely genuine.” And a sticker gets slapped on the tire, “Approved” – and rightfully so, because it’s been thoroughly proven by testing. That’s dokime.
So, what if God has that in mind for us too? After a lifetime of testing us in all sorts of situations, he can rightfully hold us up and with a flourish slap a sticker on us, “Approved. The genuine article. Proven by testing.”
Well, it’s not only what he has in mind, it’s also what he wants us to realize too, that through testing WE know we’re the genuine article too. That’s why Peter could say in 1 Peter 1:6, “In this you greatly rejoice – that for now we suffer grief in all kinds of trials,” yes, but, verse 7, “these trials come so that the proven genuineness of your faith…may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
We rejoice in that, because we know this is what we suffer for, to prove to us that we are genuine. Through all the harrowing trials and tests we’ve been through, we’re still here, aren’t we? We haven’t given up on God. So face the lovely truth, that we really must have faith after all. We probably didn’t think so at the time, because we remember getting awfully close to giving up and quitting perhaps, but we came through and somehow stronger too.
Like those tires our faith is tested to its limits, but we know what’s coming to us, a sticker from God, “Approved. Genuine through and through. Proven by testing. And not only do I know it, so do they”…(more on this tomorrow)