1 Peter 1:6-9
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.”
Hardships can help, they don’t have to hinder and harden the heart, instead trials can teach us to be tender. They can enrich and develop our faith, which God says is more precious than gold. God is not the source of suffering or the author of affliction, but He also doesn’t allow it to be wasted. He uses every trial to train, and only God can bring miracles out of our misery. God assures us that He will plant seeds in the soil of our sorrow that will sprout up to compete and choke out the weeds of this world. Seeds that will bloom and bear fruit, bolstering our faith, not saving faith, but sanctifying faith. Trials have two benefits for believers, first these trials demonstrate our Faith. Trials and test reveal real faith. In James 1:12 the word test comes from the Greek word, dokimon, meaning to test for the purpose of approving. Suffering trials demonstrates the authenticity of our faith, putting it on display for the entire world to see. Here Peter provides us with the picture of gold. If you thought you had discovered gold how would you prove its authenticity, and reveal its true value? First you would take it to an assayer who would evaluate it by putting it to the test. Testing gold involves rubbing the gold-colored item on black stone, which will leave an easily visible mark. The mark is then tested by applying nitric acid which will dissolve the mark of any item that is not gold. This testing focuses on the fact that gold is a noble metal, resistant to change by corrosion, oxidation or acid. Peter says that the same thing often happens to our faith, if we had nothing but favorable circumstances, our faith might not be authentic faith rooted in the Father but simply our favorable circumstances. Take away our favorable circumstances, replace our comfort with crisis and if faith in God is still there, it’s genuine. What about your faith is it leaving a mark that is not dissolved by the afflicting acid of life? Second, trials develop and deepen our Faith. Stress can strengthen, and just like a physical muscle that is exercised so our faith must also be flexed. Trials test our faith, refining by removing the rubbish. When gold comes out of the ground it is often mixed with impurities, taking the flames of the fire to refine. In this life we will experience trials of testing, whose purpose is not just to reveal our faith, but to refine it. We can rejoice in tests and trials because they reveal what is real and hopefully we can respond like Job, a man who knew disaster and difficulty, Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” We will all go through storms and there are at least two kinds of storms that you will face as a Christian in this life.
· Storms of correction. Like Jonah, sometimes the storms of life are meant to get our attention and call our rebellious heart to repentance.
· Storms of perfection. Like the disciples, God allows these types of storms to build our character and to cause us to deepen our dependence upon Him so that we can flourish in faithfulness. If you let Him God will use the storms to strengthen your faith.
Look there are only 2 outcomes either storms will strengthen, or they will shatter your faith. What hard thing is harassing you, what life lesson are you learning right now? Is your faith being refined and revealed? Are you focusing on the mark of faith or the misery? Just like gold we need the fire to test and refine our faith, as it burns away the impurities. Only when we see the benefit of the fire and perceive its purifying purpose will we rejoice in difficulty rather than rebel. Trails are not about us trying but simply trusting. May be today you are struggling under the heat of some hardship, just remember that no matter how hot it gets God’s hand is on the thermostat and He knows what He is doing. So, are you going to shout about your salvation or your suffering?