It's pretty funny the lengths some advertisers will go to convince you that you should buy their product, like those Samsonite commercials. Remember, the suitcase in the gorilla cage, taking every form of abuse a gorilla could give it? And then there was the one where they threw it out of a plane and it survived. But the pioneers of this kind of "hammer it to prove it" advertising were the makers of Timex watches. Their motto was hard to forget - "Takes a lickin', keeps on tickin'." I don't remember all the ways they beat up on their watches, but it seems to me they attached one to a ski boat, one to the underside of a truck that was bouncing along a bumpy road. They gave it all kinds of hammering that proved the quality of their product.
Well, I'm, Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Takes a Lickin', Keeps On Tickin'."
It may be that you are going through a time when you've been hit pretty hard, when everything is being shaken. And you're asking the question we all want answered in times like these, "Why?" Now you'll never going to know the whole answer until you're with Jesus in heaven. But God does pull the curtain back to show you a little of the reason for the hammering you're experiencing.
That's in our word for today from the Word of God, 1 Peter 1:6-7. Now the people God is addressing through Peter are people whose entire world has been devastated. They have paid for their faithfulness to Jesus Christ by being persecuted. They've been driven from their homes, their city, and scattered all over the map and some of these folks have probably lost everything. Here's what God says, "for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith...may be proved genuine."
Notice the word used to describe the hurting time, "trials." A trial is a test that reveals the quality of the product. Like those watches. Like you right now. No doubt, you have had assignments from God you have enjoyed more. But God has trusted you with this painful assignment every bit as much as He gave you those other assignments. Why? To show the quality of Jesus Christ and your faith in Him.
Every approach, every lifestyle works when things are going well. Anybody can be positive and joyful and unselfish in good times. That's no test. The test of what's real is the hammering times. People saw what those Timex watches could handle, and they wanted one. People will see what you and Jesus can handle, and they may very well want Him for themselves.
If you are struggling to make some sense of this upheaval, remember that God has sent or allowed it so your faith could be "proved genuine." So how are you doing? Would people who are watching you right now, and watching your actions and attitude, would they say, "What he has, what she has is real?" If all you believe about Jesus' love and power and hope is for real, than this may be the greatest opportunity you've ever had in your life to prove it. Preaching won't convince a lot of people, Christian beliefs or activities won't, but who can deny the reality of a hope that is still there after heavy blows?
If you can hang onto Jesus, if you could be like Jesus in this pain, you'll prove your faith is genuine first to yourself. You will have the deepest confidence in Jesus you've ever had because you've experienced what He can do when no one else can help. You'll also prove your faith is genuine to the people who are watching you, whose own relationship with Jesus may depend on how you weather this beating. And you'll prove the reality of your faith to God who waits to bless in extraordinary ways those who are faithful to Him when there seems to be no reason to be.
So hang on, even if you're getting banged around right now. This is the test to see whether or not when you're "takin' a lickin", you will "keep on tickin'."