Once a person gets “saved” everything does not turn to champagne and caviar. Life is still hard. In fact, life gets even harder once you start living for the Lord because now people will watch you more closely to see how you handle difficulties since you claim to trust God in all things.
How do you handle things once you get sick and suffer through tough times? How do you handle the sickness of a child? How do you react when you see injustice or if it happens to you? These are all very real situations. What about when good friends suffer because of their kids’ mistakes and hardheadedness, how do you respond? Your response is very important and like in anything in life, the better prepared you are the better you will do.
Peter’s address of suffering through difficult situations
The apostle Peter will cover the subject of how you should respond when faced with trials and difficult situations.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 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 ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1)
Peter claims that we are to rejoice in difficult situations as we face difficult trials in our lives. On first view, this looks insane. No one wants to suffer and while suffering, no one wants to smile and consider it joy. So why does Peter tells us to consider it joy when suffering through difficult situations? God allows us to go through difficult times so that our faith will be manifested (to ourselves first and foremost). Many people want to know if they have faith, if their faith is genuine and God does not disappoint. He allows you to go through certain situations to put your faith to the test and prove if it is real or not. So, why are we to rejoice?
- our faith is proven (the creme raises to the top)
- tested/proven faith is far more valuable than gold
- the way you respond to difficult situations shows if you really love Christ or not
- tough situations help you remove your masks and get down to the genuine
- the rubber meets the road so to speak, as far as your faith goes
- tested faith, genuine faith leads to the ultimate salvation of your soul
- eternal salvation is far more precious than gold which is here today and gone tomorrow
I know in advance the outcome and it is worth the pain. We understand this way of thinking when it comes to exercise. No one likes the pain of working out but everyone like to have the beach ready body and the healthy feeling of being in shape. The benefits outweigh the pain. How much more should we appreciate this in our spiritual lives, which leads to eternal life than in the physical, which is healthy today and sick tomorrow?
James’ address of suffering through difficult situations
The apostle James also weighs in on this idea to give us more information, a clearer picture of why we go through difficult times and how we are to handle them.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial ; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1)
As Peter said, we are to consider difficult times as joy. Why? Because we know the outcome of them.
- my faith is being tested
- it is a clear sign that I have faith
- as I go through difficult times, endurance is produced in me
- like the runner, the more I train, the better my endurance gets and endurance is good for me
- going through difficult times correctly causes me to mature in my faith
- I am blessed, because I learn to be content in all circumstances because I know God is in control and this helps me endure, which causes the cycle to continue. As a result, I move on to maturity as I pass through each difficult situation.
- This gives me approval in the eyes of God (and man as he watches me handle the tough times)
- In the end, the prize is the crown of life because I have endured as God teaches.
Paul’s address of suffering through difficult situations
The apostle Paul also teaches on this same subject and adds some new insights. By the way, this must be an important subject if three major apostles had to address it. We need to know this information because all people go through difficult situations, whether you are a believer or not. The difference is, the believer goes through the trial with a purpose, an end goal in mind while the nonbeliever just suffers.
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance ; 4 and perseverance, proven character ; and proven character, hope ; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5)
Did you notice language in all three situations? Rejoice, consider it all joy and exult are the three expressions used. The dictionary definition of exult is, as a verb “to show or feel elation or jubilation, esp. as the result of a success” We know what the success is,
- our faith is proven to be real
- our endurance grows
- we move toward maturity
- we become an example for others
- we are content in life no matter what
- we are rewarded by God
What else does this passage teach us?
- we gain perseverance (we learn how to endure)
- our character is formed and proven (others see it)
- we have hope, or in other words, we learn to have hope (hope means full conviction that we will receive something in the future)
- you will never be disappointed in this life (no matter what because you learn to be content in all circumstances)
If you want this power, ability to be able to endure all circumstances then you need God’s salvation. If you are not a child of God then you have no hope as you go through difficult times. So, the choice is yours, you can go through difficult times with no real purpose or you can endure them with God’s strength and there will be a purpose to your endurance. Which do you want?