"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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 1:3-7
Because of the resurrection of Christ from the dead, we have received a living hope, an inheritance that is eternal and reserved in heaven and the ability to walk through trials/pain as we continuously entrust ourselves to a good and gracious and faithful Savior.
1. We will experience trial in a less than perfect world. The settled, undisturbed happiness, security and pain-free living for which we yearn will not be ours until we see our Savior in heaven. This world is never entirely safe, but it is filled with joys and fun, and at times, ecstasy.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
2. Trials cause distress/grief and bring sadness.
3.Trials/suffering last “for a little while” in light of eternity. As we live in the two kingdoms, the visible and invisible worlds, we must strive to let the visible world be interpreted in light of the invisible world; the eternal glory which is to come.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, AS WE LOOK NOT TO THE THINGS THAT ARE SEEN BUT TO THE THINGS THAT ARE UNSEEN. FOR THE THINGS THAT ARE SEEN ARE TRANSIENT, BUT THE THINGS THAT ARE UNSEEN ARE ETERNAL.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
4.Difficulties and troubles/pain have purposes.
“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.” Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956, published in 1973
“But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” CS Lewis
- Look up with joy and hope or look around with discouragement and despair.
- Demand perfection or live with glorious inconsistency in an environment of grace.
- Continually entrust our lives to a faithful Savior who is stretching and building us.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Why do people without the knowledge of a great, triune God who rules in the affairs of man, inevitably walk under the “sword of Damocles”? What kind of emotions would that elicit?
- What is the difference between secure, settled happiness and pain-free living versus joy, pleasure, and merriment that comes into our lives?
- How does pain “remove the veil of self-sufficiency and plant the flag of truth within the fortress of the rebel soul” (see CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p.94 )?