“We do, of course, have One who has gone before”
There is no alternative to these times. They develop our character and mold our calling. We have to go through a sifting process whereby God alone is the object of our desires, passions, and motives to serve. This process culminates in the refiner’s fire, where all the impurities are painfully burned from the metal until eventually there is the prize of pure, undefiled gold. I say these words not as one who has acquired this undefiled status but as one who is still being tried by the fire.
We do, of course, have One who has gone before. Jesus was despised and rejected. He did not manage his aloneness as super-God. No, he asked the disciples three times to stay awake with him as he pled for mercy. He screamed out in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Matt. 27:46), while the crowds looked on in shame and mocked this pitiful, naked criminal who went about claiming to be God. Three times he asked his friend Peter, “Do you really love me?”(John 21:15–17). Denied that love at his most vulnerable hour, Jesus pursued their friendship even after his resurrection.1
Perkins, John (1993-07-01). Beyond Charity: The Call to Christian Community Development (pp. 175-176). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.↩