Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

Pandemic Perspective – Part 75 Rejoicing in the Pain – Part 1

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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.”

As Peter reminds us of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and what is reserved for those who have a relationship with the risen Savior, we cannot help but smile at the wonderful joy we have in Jesus. The Greek word for joy here implies a forever joy, an out of this world joy, it is used in 1:8 to convey an “inexpressible and glorious joy” and again in 4:13 for being “overjoyed” at the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is a jubilant joy based on our journey with Jesus and His finished work.  As believers the best is yet to come, yet we so often forget to have a forward looking focus. It’s easy to get trapped by the temporary instead of the excitement we can experience through our eternal life. Peter tells us the truth about this life, we will experience trials and tribulations, but we don’t have to let them trip us up.  We can focus on the hardships or the heart of the Father, we can meditate on mercy or misery, on the challenges or the coming glorious culmination of our salvation. For those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ the problems are not permanent, but the promises are. Today are you dwelling on the problems or the promises? We have an inheritance that is both reserved and preserved, pure and priceless. One that is not left to chance or change, free from the bonds of death and decay, and beyond our wildest dreams. So how should we respond to the wonderful work of our Savior? Peter says that we should rejoice in our redemption with an inexpressible joy. Our confident is not based on our circumstances but Christ and what is yet to come. Our souls can smile through the suffering because we have a Savior who is stronger than our sin and more powerful than our problems. Peter says that this is a joy that can’t be kept on the inside, it is not hidden by hurt, rather it is revealed through the rough times. As we experience and endure the trials of life God refines our faith and develops our inner strength. Preparing us for the most wonderful experience of our existence, our great personal encounter with Him, as we step from earth into eternity. Peter starts first with truth and them proceeds to talk about the trials, because God’s truth always trumps our trials. So, after beginning his letter with wonderful words of hope and encouragement, Peter proceeds with caring counsel for those who are facing trials and suffering. Peter knows firsthand what it is to face temptations and trials, I’m sure he remembers well the pain and disappointment of his denial of Christ. We are all tempted at some time to turn our backs on what we believe, to forsake our faith and fall away. Like Peter many have heard the rooster crow, revealing their failing courage and cowering fear. But Peter learned that God is greater than our grief, that God can use trials to bring benefits into our life. As Peter shares with a church caught in suffering, he reminds them that no matter what the journey brings we can have joy. That even though this life holds hardships, filled with sadness and suffering Christ is still in control. We rejoice because as Christians trials don’t define us, they refine us. We have a Redeemer that is renewing us and who will richly reward, the eternal gains of heaven will more than compensate our earthly hurts. Hardships can help, they don’t have to hinder and harden the heart, and instead trials teach us to be tender. They can enrich and develop our faith, which God says is more precious than gold. 

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