“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” —1 Thessalonians 3:13 NKJV
The 12 men that Jesus called were a rough-cut crew. But these are men we call saints today. Over time, we have venerated them. Forever enshrined in stained glass, they are like superheroes from the Bible—no flaws, shortcomings, imperfections; they are the spiritual elite.
And how could they not be? These saints spent three concentrated years walking and talking with, and following Jesus. But what exactly is a saint?
A little girl was asked in her Sunday school class what a saint was. Thinking of those stained glass pictures, she said, “They are the people the light shines through.”
Is that not what all of us are called to be? We are to “let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works . . .” So, what is a saint? A saint is a true believer.
That means that if you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ, you are a saint—and so am I! “Saint Greg.” What do you think?
But who exactly were these saints? These apostles that Jesus called? These men who changed the world? The more we get to know these men, the more human we see they are. Sometimes we think of them as one-dimensional characters, perched on pedestals. But any honest look at their stories in the pages of Scripture would reveal otherwise.
They weren’t scholars. They weren’t religious sages. The fact of the matter is, they were quite ordinary. They were hopelessly human, remarkably unremarkable. But they were available and obedient to the Master’s call.
This is just one of the reasons that I know that the Bible is the Word of God! It is a completely honest book. It gives us our heroes “warts and all,” and I for one appreciate that. That does not discourage me, but quite the opposite. It gives me hope as a flawed person. Despite our flaws, God can use you and me. I hope that encourages you today.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.