April 4, 2020



“In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7




Times of trial are not new to the followers of Jesus.


Iteffa Gobena served on the churchwide staff of the Lutheran Church in Ethiopia in the 1970’s.  In 1974, the communists took over.  They took the churches.  They took administrative spaces.  They took Iteffa.  They took his home.  He, along with many other pastors were put in prison. 


He had absolutely no idea if he would ever get out.  They tortured him on more than one occasion.  They did unspeakable things to the prisoners.  Over time, he was released.


Years later, when all of this was history, Iteffa was asked, “Is there anything you miss from that time?”  His answer, “Yes.  The Church was being refined like fire.  Pure gold.”


One might have thought at the time that the Church was being destroyed.  Yet, the Spirit was doing something marvelous.  Years later, the genuineness of their faith has resulted in the virtual explosion of Christianity throughout Ethiopia.


Could it be that the Church is being refined today?




My heavenly Father, you are good.  Help me to see that even in the midst of suffering, you are able to accomplish marvelous things.  I welcome the work of your Spirit within my life in any and all circumstances.  May all that I experience serve to advance your purposes.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.




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