“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12–13).
Some glory is sweet and swift — like the loveliness of spring or the tinkling joy of a baby’s laughter. The smile of a brand new believer. The bursting thrill of seeing your son graduate. Highlights on the trail of life that give us reprieve for a moment, but then that moment is gone. But some glory, the kind that comes from suffering, takes a long time to develop. It sits on the back burner of the stoves of our lives. It simmers long and low. Through the heat of constant trial, it develops. Through constant, daily trial when we are trapped inside with our own fears; we chose Him. Sometimes you look up and you can smell it as it deepens, but most of the time it is just simmering away and we hardly know what He is doing as we wait and work and suffer. But someday, sister, we’ll stop smelling and anticipating that glory. We’ll actually taste it and we’ll all taste it together. And not just glory from this present trial, no. Glory from every unwasted trial we walked through in life. The grief we suffered and trusted Him through. Precious tiny infants that were taken too soon — babies that we miscarried or barely got to hold; loved ones, parents, grandparents that we did indeed carry — that we bore all the way to the end. Job losses and financial fear that threatened to undo our faith. Complicated, difficult family troubles we have trouble giving voice to. And yes, even the carnage of communicable disease that rips across our world. Suffering. Just slow-simmering glory.
All of us will stand together one day — sans masks or gloves — brothers and sisters in Christ. Just think of the moment we see Him. In that moment, that will never pass away, we’ll know what the slow simmer glory we smelled all our lives actually tastes like. And we’ll know what it was all for — so we could deeply, truly, fully rejoice in Him. We’ll remember from our personal trials a sample of the abandonment that He faced for each of us. And from that memory of suffering, our joy will be eternally, fully, unshakably real. Because of the heat of trial, we’ll be strong for the weight of glory.
So breathe in deep, sister. Smell that glory. Lean into your trial; whatever it is in this strange world we are living in; and let it soften all the tough sinews in you. Let the smell of that slow-simmer glory encourage you. Lean into your trial and know that He’s doing a good work in you. It takes time and it takes heat and it’s not over in one day. But dear sisters, it’s worth every minute.