This has been quite a difficult week for many people here in Massachusetts with an unusual Noreaster that dumped heavy, wet snow creating numerous power outages. Even as I write these words there are many brothers and sisters who remain in the dark. My husband and I were fortunate that our power went out last Saturday but was restored 4 hours later. Many folks have not yet recovered from the devastation and trauma that accompanied Hurricane Irene not too long ago. A recurring theme I have heard throughout the week is how much people are "suffering" without the convenience of electricity. The discomfort is exacerbated by the change in seasons and the low temperatures which for some people made it impossible to stay in their homes without heat. It is at times like these that the reality of our dependance on electricity really hits home. I have been praying for a quick resolution for those left in the dark and stamina for the power companies working 24/7 to get everyone back on line. And while I do not make light of what is happening to people, I am reminded that our faith can be severely tested. We have to honestly ask ourselves the question, when everything falls apart is our faith in the Lord able to sustain us? We as a nation and a Western culture have never experienced suffering to the same degree as other nations/peoples. However, Jesus warned that prior to His return things would become more challenging. (Matthew 24) Furthermore the attitudes of people would shift towards one another. (2 Timothy 3) There is unrest worldwide and it is even manifesting itself in our cities with the movement against corporate greed. However, are we ready for what is yet to come? I admit I am guilty of taking for granted the comforts I enjoy everyday and I am quick to cry foul when I am inconvenienced. But am I willing to put my life on the line for Jesus? There are brothers and sisters who are being persecuted everyday for Christ and we rarely hear about it because it is not as news worthy as some celebrity or athlete caught in some scandal. And it is easy to think that things won't get "that bad" here in our country. However we can't be ignorant about such matters. We need to be faithful and depend on God come what may. Peter's encouragement to the suffering saints is appropriate for us to hear and keep in mind, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything....Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." (1 Peter 1:3,12) italics mine. May the Lord give us the grace we need by the power of His Holy Spirit to be found faithful in times of trial.