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     Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 1:3-7

Dear heavenly Father, today I need a fresh supply of free grace, for the “various trials,” of which Peter speaks, are sucking my energy like bothersome leaches. I feel a bit weary, easily distracted, and a bad attitude coming on. A part of me just says, “Buck up, you woosie whiner!” But I think the gospel offers a better way.

Honestly, I’m embarrassed to even speak of my trials, because I didn’t go to sleep hungry or thirsty last night; I didn’t hear gunfire echoing through my neighborhood; there’s no plague pillaging my community; I don’t live with the fear of my children being sold into slavery; and my government isn’t threatening the exercise of my faith. These are realities with which many of my brothers and sisters in Christ live on a daily basis.

For me, it’s more like swimming in a pool of tiny piranha just nibbling away at my joy, energy, and peace. Grant me grace perfectly suited for the demands and dailyness of normal life. Gentle me, in this aging body, with aching joints and a leaking memory. Free me to live with kindness among fellow sinner-saints who, like me, love inconsistently and long for the Day of perfect relationships.

Give me your perspective on unresolved stories from my past, and present stories of brokenness and weakness. Grant me patience in the face of common irritations and a lack of common manners—when cars, plumbing, air conditioners, and other stuff just breaks; and when people don’t say “thank you,” friends don’t return calls, and pets pee on the carpet.

Lord, in all these things, I want your hand and heart to be at work. I want to be a gospel-man—a man of faith, love and joy, not just when I might have to pray for daily bread or for grace to face a firing squad; but when I’m living out the implications of the gospel in the predictable messiness and brokenness of normal life. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.



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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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