Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces;
now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
In just a short time he will restore us so that we may live in his presence.
Oh, that we might know the LORD!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.
We are grieved by various trials. Peter acknowledges this reality of our lives. We are torn, injured and wounded in our souls and our bodies. Our pain and sorrow is real. Death is real. And here’s something else that is real: Hosea states plainly that the Lord is behind these trials. He has ordained them for us. Peter says the trials are necessary! and that they result in praise and glory and honor at the [future] revelation of Jesus Christ. *
As I write this, my friend is digesting the news that her cancer is malignant; friends of mine in central Mozambique are dealing with hunger, destruction and death all around them and are past the breaking point; there are broken relationships that tear at our hearts; I continue to navigate my grieving process after the death of a dear loved one. I cry out, we cry out, “Will this ever end?”
“For a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…”*
“In just a short time …” or, a more literal translation reads
“In two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.”
How does our faith respond to the trial? Our trial that God foresaw and didn’t prevent? That He ordained?! We are aghast! What God is this? Clearly, we don’t know him very well. We don’t know God as well as we thought we did.
“Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him.”
Press on to know Him. Consider all that he says about himself, his ways, his laws, his mercy, and all his characteristics. He astounds us. He brings us to our knees. This God is truly a fearsome One. A God with all the power to divert a given course of events, but who chooses not to in order to do something eternally merciful and gracious is a God who makes us tremble. Such holy masterfulness boggles our minds. And we can only respond in worship of Him. Through our tears, may we cry out to God to help us know him better. And may we worship him while we hurt.
Finally, the reality that will make this present pain but a bad dream: the power of God to heal that which is gruesomely torn, and his mercy to do it. Let us press on to know Him, the God who loves us so much that He’s willing to wound us now in order to restore and refresh us in His presence eternally. It won’t be long.
“The same providence of God that afflicts his people relieves them.”
*I Peter 1:6-7