Uh oh. Destined for trials? Us? Apparently so, according to this verse. Hmm. Is it possible to avoid being “unsettled by them,” as Paul infers here? Apparently so, since Holy Spirit included this word in the canon of Scripture!
What does this mean, though? Are we talking about some super-human standard where nothing at all is supposed to ruffle our feathers, no matter how harrowing? I don’t believe so. Instead, I sense Holy Spirit is talking about a quiet, joyful steadfastness that He means to develop in us as we mature in Him. As we grow into the image of Jesus, this steadfastness will mean that the afflictions we face do not throw us off-center.
Does this mean we won’t struggle anymore? No. God has emotions. He made us in His image, so we have emotions. There are going to be days in this life when our emotions go through battles. As inhabitants of fallen Planet Earth, we are “destined for” such. How, then, do we face the future bravely – if we can count on the fact that hardships are going to come?
It’s all about getting to know Him. The more we know the Father, the more fearless we will become. The more we know Him, the more these will become our spontaneous habits: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thes. 5:16-18). Our rejoicing, praying, thankful spirits will be increasingly filled with His Spirit. They will have less and less space for lingering fears.
Fear has no lasting place in the heart of a child of God immersed in His love. He has promised to take perfect care of the ones He cherishes. He will always provide what we need to overwhelmingly conquer in any and every difficulty that is to come. We can joyfully rest in that assurance.
This reminds me of a story that I read by Corrie Ten Boom. She remembered confiding in her father about feeling afraid of the future. He very gently took the time to make it a teachable moment. He asked her this vitally important question about her experience as his child: “Corrie, do you remember when we took the train together? Did I give you your ticket ahead of time, or right when it was the moment to board?”
She replied that he handed it to her right on time, right when they needed to get on the train. He went on to explain that our heavenly Father does the same for us. When the time comes that we need something, He will provide it. Always. He will generously, unfailingly provide the grace for every moment that is to come.
Just as Corrie did not need to worry about whether she would have what she needed for her travels ahead, neither do you and I. Our heavenly Daddy loves us more than anything. He will provide exactly what we need for everything we will ever journey through.
Let’s walk hand-in-hand with our Abba. Let’s lean into His bosom throughout every day. The more we do so, the more unshakable we will become… until we even embody these words from the Savior: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matt. 10:28, NIV).
It really is possible, treasured one. His perfect love can and will cast out all fear from our hearts as we walk intimately with Him!
Why do you think it is that the Father prefers to provide what we need just in time, and not beforehand?