Many times God allows trials and difficulties to come into our lives. He frequently will use those trials and difficulties to grow us in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was C.S. Lewis who said, “God whispers in our pleasures, but shouts in our pain!” In Peter’s first epistle he addresses the question of suffering in a very significant way. Beginning in verse six of chapter 1 he writes, “in this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in the praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ”, (v.6-7,NASB). There’s a couple things that we could learn from these two verses about trials. First we see that he refers to “various trials”. Trials come in various shapes and sizes. They are not only numerous but also very diverse. Trials also show up at critical times in our lives and we don’t get to choose the trial that we are going to experience. But there are all different kinds of trials that we can go through. Secondly, we could surmise from this passage that trials are controlled by God. Peter refers to his readers trials as something that is for “a little while”. Faith should stand the test of fire better than gold. Faith must be tested otherwise it could never be verified. We need not fear when our faith is exposed to trials because God is actually in control of our trials. We know from the book of Job that God was the one who allowed certain things that happened in Job’s life and that he was the one that also had Satan in check. God tends to allow us to be kept in the furnace of suffering until we reflect the glory and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. Trials should in fact deepen and strengthen our Christian faith and let the reality of our faith be displayed to other people. All of this is for the glory and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ at His revelation when He comes in glory.
The third thing that we see in these verses is that trials are not easy. Peter says, “you have been distressed”. The NIV translates this as you have “suffered grief”. When we experience various trials there is no point in trying to put up a brave front or pretend that something bad is not happening in our lives. A trial is an experiment or search by some affliction to prove the value and strength of our faith. Trials are for our advantage, not for our ruin. Peter knew a thing or two about going through trials. Remember that he himself had denied the Lord Jesus Christ on the night of Jesus’ betrayal. He had been warned by Jesus that he was going to so do but he refused to acknowledge that was even a possibility. In that sense his trial was very humbling and made him aware of his own deficiencies. Finally we see in this passage that trials meet needs. Peter is referring to needs being meet when he speaks and he says that their trials may “result in the praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. Why does God allow our faith to be tested? He allows trials so that we can discover our own weakness and how that those weaknesses can be met in His infinite strength. God uses trials to distinguish genuine faith from superficial profession. But most of all God uses trials to bring praise, glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ when He brings us through the other side. Who shall speak to those with a broken heart? Many of the sweetest joys of the Christian heart are songs that are learned through the bitterness of trials and suffering. This past Wednesday evening at our ladies Bible study one of our own women from our church shared her journey through leukemia. Four years ago at this time this young lady was at death’s door. But now God is using her testimony for His glory and honor. Winter is as necessary in our lives to bring a rich harvest as is the spring. Afflictions are necessary to bring the harvest for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is when God allows us to go through difficulty that we can then sing His praises and experience His amazing grace in our lives. I like what one poet wrote: “Able to keep! Yes, able to keep, though rough the path, all rugged and steep; Tender the heart that’s caring for me, mighty the grace, “sufficient for thee”.Able to keep – my weakness He knows, strong the temptation, crafty the foes; God is my refuge, He is my shield, Power almighty that never shall yield.”
I hope you have found that God is able to use your trials and difficulties that you have gone through to bear witness and to give testimony of His great grace. Sometimes it’s a matter of just holding on to our God and waiting on Him to make a way of deliverance for us that will give us the opportunity to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. All praise to our great Savior who leads us in every way that we should go when we yield our lives and allegiance to Him.
Shalom, Pastor Rich