“Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations—that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
I Peter 1:6-7
When we’re going through it, we so often resist and resent it; however, when we remember how God’s using it, we will find reason to rejoice and “give thanks in all things” (I Thess. 5:18).
No one likes it. In fact, the mere mention of the word pains us, for it conjures up remembrance of those times of suffering in our own lives or those of loved ones and friends. Images of contorted faces and limbs. . .cries of anguish and agony. . .moans and groans. . .tears and fears, etc., all flood our minds.
Yet, today’s Manna says of it “Wherein you greatly rejoice.”
And, the Apostle Paul said he’d even learned to “glory in his infirmities and take pleasure in them” (II Cor. 12:9b-10a).
Were Peter and Paul sadistic masochists? Did they enjoy suffering and watching others writhe in pain? Or, had they learned the “Savior’s Secret of Serenity” in the midst of anguish of mind and agony of body and soul?
The answer is the latter.
By nature we have an aversion to pain. We’ll do everything we can to avoid it. And, nowadays there are numerous medicines available to “prevent” pain, not just help ease it. While this is good (to a point), the fact remains that pain is a “good” thing when viewed in the right way.
It alerts us to a problem. A toothache warns us of a cavity, lost filling, possible nerve damage, etc. An aching joint warns of inflammation, strained ligaments or the onset of arthritis or rheumatism. Back pain may signal an injured disc or a lodged kidney stone. Thus, it can be a good thing if we view it as such.
The same is true in the spiritual realm, as stated by the Apostle Peter. Truly, we should rejoice over our “regeneration” (v.3), “reservation” (v.4) and “preservation” (v.5). And, when suffering comes, we should remember the Lord will use it for our spiritual “purification.” Thankfully, it’s only for a “season” and only out of “necessity” in God’s sovereign will—for, ultimately, it’s used to define and refine our faith, moving it closer to His 24-karat status. Hallelujah!!
Dear Pilgrim, if your faith’s being “tried (Grk. ‘dokimazo’—‘to put to the test, examine, prove, discern, be made acceptable, etc.’)” right now, rejoice—for God is at work in your life. Instead of fretting, fuming or growing frustrated, give “praise, honor and glory” to the One Who’s promised to be your “Partner in Pain.” He’s “been there, done that” and is well-acquainted with what you’re going through (Is. 53). Therefore, rest in Him—and rejoice.
September 3, 2011