March 09, 2009

Transformation Through Struggle

1 Peter 1:6-9

You may have had to suffer … so that that your faith … may result in praise, glory and honor.
1 Peter 1:6-7


God’s empowerment for transformation often comes through struggle. We may reach a point in our lives when we hurt so much that we have to change. Our faith is refined by fire so that it may become as gold.

Nine-year-old Louis was watching his father work with leather in his harness-making shop in nineteenth-century France. “Someday, Father,” said Louis, “I want to be a harness maker, just like you.”

“Why not start now?” retorted his father. He took a piece of leather and showed his son how to work with a hole puncher. Excited, the boy began to work, but soon the hole puncher flew out of his hand and pierced his eye! He lost sight in that eye immediately. Later the other eye failed, and Louis was totally blind.

His life came to a standstill until his pain produced a world-changing idea. Louis was sitting in the family garden, holding a pinecone. As he ran his sensitive fingers over the layers of the cone, he could picture it clearly in his mind. Suddenly he thought, “Why not create an alphabet of raised dots to enable sightless people to read?” So Louis Braille opened a new world for the blind—all because of his pain.

In times of trouble I need to say, “God has brought me here, will keep me in his love, and will somehow make this trial a blessing.”

Lord Almighty, we know that difficult circumstances produce spiritual growth. Use our trials to make our faith genuine and to honor and glorify your name. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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