One of the great mysteries of God is why He allows trials and hardships for those who love Him. In our human view, we believe that a loving God always has to show His love, and therefore absolve our life of any pain. Yet, if you’ve journeyed with God for any amount of time, you know that He does sovereignly allow trials in our life.
For what purpose does God allow suffering in our life?
In 1 Peter 1:6-7, the Bible says, “…you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith…”. What exactly does this mean?
Watch this message here:
Today I want to show you what Peter was trying to convey, post resurrection of Christ to Christians where were suffering and scattered. Through the whole of 1 Peter, but especially In these passages we see that there is power in Christ for everyday living if we keep our faith in Jesus.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,” — 1 Peter 1:6
The passages starts by acknowledging that we will have trials and we will need Christ’s power to get through them. Looking back at v. 5 it says that ‘those who have been given great blessing… according to His mercy… are kept in power through faith.’ God places a hedge of protection around us in the midst of trials that gives us power when powerless (Ps. 34:7; Heb 1:14).
He tells us to rejoice in the trials we face, and this can only happen if we are totally surrendered and have complete trust in God. The apostle Paul wrote something similar from prison, with less than ideal circumstances, “Rejoice… again, I say Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4-9).
As my friend, Daniel Henderson, says, “Discouragement is just a temporary loss of perspective. In the midst of hard circumstances, we lift our eyes to look at Christ and there we find the power to be able to rejoice. Now don’t get me wrong, being a Christian is not some naïve-head-in-the-sand type of belief system. Rather, we are quick to acknowledge the facts of what is hard around us yet REJOICE all the MORE!
- Rejoicing is a habitual attitude. It is exceeding gladness in downcast circumstances that points to the confidence we have in God. Someone may say, why are you so happy during this hard time? Shouldn’t you be down? And our response, “Yeah, I probably should be down about this circumstance and stuff much worse than what I’m personally facing, but I’m choosing to believe that God’s power is enough. I’m REJOICING in Jesus.”
When Peter uses the phrase “various trials” he is acknowledging that the trials of life will come. They will be present in our lives by God’ divine power, under his permissive will from Satan, or it may be the result of our own wrongdoing. The phrase “various trials” emphasizes the diversity of our trials, rather than the number of our trials.
Peter is making it clear that faith is the Fail-Proof way to Access Christ’s Power.
Faith is necessary because trials can bring us all sorts of mental anguish— worry, anxiety, fear, panic, depression. We experience pain and distress of our mind. Yet, with all these unseen afflictions, there is a more powerful unseen antidote—faith!
Faith is necessary because we have no control over:
- How many trials we will have
- What kind of trials we have
- Or how long they last
Peter says later in his letter, (1 Peter 4:12), “Do not be surprised at the fiery trials that come upon you… as if something strange were happening to you.” We know trails will come, through persecution, the fallen nature of the world we live in, or by our own need to be disciplined.
Faith in Christ is necessary because the Bible tells us that trials of life are necessary. Look at how Peter says it in 1 Peter 1:7 (starting at the end of 6):
you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 1:6–7
This passage points out a main thrust of Peter’s writing:
Trials are necessary to test the genuineness of our faith.
Think of it this way, if you want to know that something is real— that is will last the test of time or pressure— you test it. That is true with our faith as well. In both the Old and New Testament, we are told that God allows trials in our life to examine our convictions (Duet. 8:1-10; 1 Tim. 3:14-15).
We prove genuine faith:
- When we exhibit a sustained belief in God’s Word (Heb. 11)
- When we exposed and found to have complete trust in Christ.
- When we rejoice in Christ despite circumstances.
The ultimate proof is at the end of verse 7, “[your faith] may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
This passage makes it clear that through our trials, the power of Christ is developed in us and exposed through us. It shows in the way we carry our emotions through a trial. It shows in the way we carry others in the midst of a trial. Paul exemplified this when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” In other words, if you see any power in my life every day, it is not me — it is Christ in me.
So then, the magnum opus of our suffering is this, from God’s perspective: The Outcome of Faith is the Inexpressible Joy in Christ.
Verse 8-9 of Peter 1, says,
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. — 1 Peter 1:8–9
Peter is talking about us in this passage: we have not seen Christ, but we love Him. A proof of genuine faith and spiritual maturity is when we have not seen Him, yet we continue to love and obey Him. His power in us compel and helps us live out His commands. John 20:29 tells us ‘to not see God, but believe brings on blessing’ to God, others and ourselves.
To believe is to have faith and total confidence that God has the power to deliver us. This belief results in rejoicing; we demonstrate our belief through a true expression of gladness. Our attitude is that of complete trust that leads to a worry-free life.
But we don’t just have any joy, it is “JOY THAT IS INEXPRESSIBLE AND FILLED WITH GLORY!” It is ‘inexpressible’ because it cannot be explained in light of the circumstances. Trials teach is to live triumphant over everything from the inside out (Rom. 8:18; 28-29; 37-39; Phil. 4:13).
The outcome of our faith is the salvation of our soul. When we grasp the power of Christ, through believing in Him, we obtain the character of God, through Christ, in us. We are made new—no longer do we live a life that has no hope; we are given eternal hope in Christ.
Trials stimulate faith and deliver us from fear, worry and weakness. Faith produces in us a maturity that gives way to power and perseverance. It is the “Working out of our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).
Peter promises us this salvation of our souls through trials—this is the deepest part of you, saved from the deepest troubles of this life. Think of this as “shalom” is peace to the core of you.
The greatest of a person’s power is the measure of their faith in Christ. This comes through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. No matter the trials we face, we have the power of God in our life. Our trials produce in us a greater dependance on God. Charles Spurgeon said “Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing. We are as ships without the wind, branches without sap, and like coals without fire, we are useless.”
This reminds me of something I read one of D.L. Moody. He was preaching one and held up a glass and asked, “How can I get the air out of this glass?” One man shouted, “Suck it out with a pump!” Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.” After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.” He then went on to explain that victory in the Christian life is not accomplished by “sucking out a sin here and there,” but by being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The resurrection of Christ gives us access to the power of God every day. All we have to do is have faith! We must be filled with Holy Spirit, trust that God has a plan in the trial you face. This makes every trial worth it.