The Crucibles That Come
In the safe confines of a zoo exhibit, one could be tempted to forget the danger beneath the illusion. The grandiose idea that we can be animal whisperers, and the temptation to bond with such soft-furred creatures is too enticing for some to resist as we hear stories of people climbing into lion habitat enclosures.
Pieter Nortje recently succumbed to that urge when he reached through a fence to pet a lion at a South African exhibit. The male lion seemed to enjoy the attention, but his mate found the temptation presented by Pieter’s dangling arm too inviting to resist—the lioness latched on and didn’t want to let go. He managed to pull his arm away after a few seconds, but the damage was done. Her teeth sunk bone-deep into his arm, and he ended up in serious condition from septic shock.
Our trials in life come in many forms. Some come to us out-of-the-blue, blind-siding us with swift surprise. Peter counseled us in 1 Peter 4:12 to not be shocked when trials come—we who love Jesus can expect fiery ordeals to challenge our faith.
Other ordeals are self-inflicted, the result of our foolish dalliances with temptation. 1 Peter 5:8 also alerts us that Satan walks around like a roaring lion seeking those he can devour. And oftentimes, masks himself to look like a big, cuddly kitty cat.
In all of these challenges, we can ultimately grow stronger as we mature in our faith. An old adage says, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” These reminders that our trials come to only make us stronger are easier to accept before and after experiencing them. It’s harder to appreciate that, however, when the lion has its teeth sunk deeply into your arm. We need Jesus, who walked through the crucible of crucifixion, to carry us through our own crucibles.
Connecting: Recall a time when you escaped a potentially harmful situation with little or no injury. Was your escape a result of luck? Did you evade harm through quick thinking on your part?
Sharing: What best helps you deal with life’s trials?
- Reading and memorizing Bible promises that I can claim during challenging times
- Listening to music, or singing Scripture songs and hymns, calms my soul
- Knowing that others are praying for me really helps
- I like to tough it out, knowing that I’ll come out stronger on the other side
- I don’t handle trials well, and I really need to find something that helps next time an ordeal comes
Applying: What is the best help you can give to someone else during a time of trial? Can you help financially? Are you good at giving emotional and spiritual support?