1 Peter 1:6-12
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. 10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. 12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
As tough as trials are they can actually fortify our faith, you see not only are trials temporary but second:
- Trials are Timely
This might be difficult to swallow, but suffering is something we have to go through. Verse 6 says we “must endure many trials” this can be translated as “necessary, or inevitable. 2 Timothy 3:12 reminds us that as followers of Jesus Christ we will go through challenges “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” But remember trials never take God by surprise and if we have a proper perspective on pain and persecution they shouldn’t take us by surprise either. The problem is that many Christians have a twisted theology when it comes to trials. We want to believe that because God is good that His goal will be our happiness. Look God’s goal is our holiness not our happiness, and as I have said many times before, holy people are happy people. The problem is that many of us are pursuing pleasure not purity. So when things go bad we get bitter and blame God, often our response when things don’t go well is to walk away from God. Look at the 12 disciples, look at the crowds, when there was food they followed, when there was difficulty they deserted. Many of us are fickle followers instead of faithful followers because we are chasing happiness not Him. How many people have you heard say, Well I’ve tried that God thing but it didn’t work, look it’s not about trying God it’s about trust Him. When we reject God we end up running from relationship. God didn’t promise us a problem-free life He promised us His presence no matter where happens in this life. What if we were to stop perusing a problem free life and start pursuing the provider of life? Later in His letter Peter reminds us and reinforces the truth that trials are part of this life when he says in 4:12: “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” Third:
- Trials are Trying
Trials are temporary and they are timely but it doesn’t mean we have to like them, look trials can be terrible. I love how honest the Bible is The NKJV says “you have been grieved by various trials” We don’t have to act like we are not in pain, or like trials are treats. Grieved means to be sad and sorrowful, when Jesus heard that Lazarus died, John 11:35 says: “Jesus wept.” In Gethsemane, Jesus was deeply “grieved to the point of death” Matthew 26:37-38. Peter also reminds us that there are many trials, that they come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes we have a tendency to discount and even dismiss others difficulties because compared to ours they may seem small. Yes there is a difference between a skinned knee and a broken heart, and we may be tempted to tell them to just get over it because it’s a skinned knee and it’s not that big a deal, but when the one with the skinned knee is a child it is a big deal. We need to be sensitive not only to the type of trial but to the maturity of the one going through it. Don’t chide a child in the faith because you think their trial isn’t tough, instead come alongside and help carry them through. Fourth:
- Trials are Transforming.
There is a story told about two brothers who were trying to cash in on a bounty of $5,000 for capturing wolves alive. Day and night they scoured the mountains looking for their valuable prey. Exhausted one night after they had fallen asleep one of the brothers woke up to find that they were surrounded by about fifty wolves growling with their teeth bared. He nudged his brother and said, “Wake up, we’re rich!” Some of you right now are facing a pack of problems, and the wolves of worry are nipping at your heels but you don’t feel very rich. But contrary to what one might expect, as I look back on my experiences, especially the painful and problematic ones I have actually found them to be the most profitable. The greatest times of growth have come not through the good times but through the groaning times. More often than not hardship not happiness has had its hand in matured and molding our lives for the better. There is a purpose behind the problems; trials can fortify your faith. Do you believe that God’s plan is perfect even in the problems, that He has a plan to use your pain for His purposes? I love what Joseph said to his brothers who had wronged him in Genesis 50:20: “What you intended as harm God intended for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Only God can use your pain for gain. It is in the trials that the power and the presence of God are often seen, it was in the midst of a fiery trial when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were thrown into the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal that they experienced the Son of God. Because Jesus was in the fire with them, they were protected. Peter also knew what it was to face the storm, and as long as he looked to the Lord he walked on the waves, but when he focused on the storm and not on the Savior he sank. Peter continued to face trials throughout his life. He discovered that what may seem bad can actually be a blessing, that God can use trials to bring benefits into our lives. And so he shares with a suffering church the truth that when we responded to rightly, trials can be transforming. What about you, what is your attitude to affliction, are you letting the trials transform or tear you apart?