“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so 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 praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:6-7 NASB
I love how this passage discusses being distressed by various or all kinds of trials. Isn’t that true of life? Aren’t we often distressed by all kinds of things? Each season of life brings new trials. Peter was writing to persecuted Christians scattered throughout the Roman Empire. These Christians were indeed experiencing various trials and having their faith tested daily. While we may or may not ever experience persecution to that extent, as believers we all face times of having our faith tested. We all want to give up and quit occasionally when our assignments in life get hard. In this passage are several reasons Peter gives us to keep on going:
1) Trials are Temporary
Though it often seems like a trial will last forever, it won’t. In pursuing a Ph.D. several years ago I had to remind myself that this is only a season, even though at times it felt like I would never finish! Sometimes our trials last longer than we would like, but they are temporary in light of eternity.
2) Perseverance is the Proof
Our perseverance through trials provides the evidence of our faith. Jesus never said being one of His followers would be easy. In fact, He pretty much guaranteed we would experience trials (John 16:33). The proof of our faith is found in those moments when we want to give up or run away from a hard assignment and Christ’s love compels us to keep going.
3) God Gets the Glory
While not always our first thought in the middle of a difficult situation, ultimately God is glorified when we persevere through the hard stuff. It’s easier to see how this works in hindsight, but in the meantime, we can rest in the fact that somehow God is working out our difficulties for our good and His glory.
Challenges and trials will come your way, but be encouraged that they do have purpose. Recently in reading one of my favorite devotional books, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, I came across this quote:
“If Jesus ever commanded us to do something that He was unable to accomplish, He would be a liar. And if we make our own inability a stumbling block or an excuse not to be obedient, it means that we are telling God that there is something which He has not yet taken into account. Every element of our own self-reliance must be put to death by the power of God. The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.” (Chambers, May 5)
May the proof of your faith be found in your perseverance.