Joy in Trials
by Zack Howard
Life can be difficult sometimes. There are times were we feel overwhelmed; times when we feel oppressed or hurt; times when we feel like everything is against us. We cannot control the trials that come, however we can control our reactions to them. We have two options when it comes to hard times: take it in stride or allow it to cripple us. We are given excellent instruction in the New Testament on how we should react to the difficult times in our lives.
In 1 Peter 1.6-7, we read:
“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.”
Trials are difficult to go through, but Peter tells us how we are to respond: joy and praise. We can say that with ease during the highs of our lives, but when it comes to putting it in action, it’s a struggle. Who first thinks of joy when they are being mocked for their faith? Who first thinks of praise when we lose a loved one? Our natural reactions are grief and sorrow. So how do we change that attitude?
First, Peter is saying we have joy in an inheritance that is waiting for us in heaven (verses 4 and 5). Our joy isn’t because someone is mocking us. Our praise isn’t because we have lost a loved one. Our joy and praise are because we have an eternal reward waiting for us if we succeed through the difficult times. We have to keep our eyes on the end goal, on the prize. If we do this, then we will come out of those difficult times rejoicing and praising God.
Secondly, Peter tells us the trials we face produce genuine faith in us. Trials have different effects on us. If we aren’t careful, the trials we face will drive us away from God, instead of strengthening our faith in him. Peter is telling us that we should always look to the end goal of our trials. The trials we face help us to grow in faith, and when we overcome our trials it brings glory, honor, and praise to God. Our trials are never promised to be easy. Yet we rejoice in them because it produces a strong faith in the end.
Finding joy in difficult times isn’t easy. But if we keep the mindset of Peter, and put our joy in the grace that God is showing to us, then those trials become stepping stones for our spiritual growth and result in glory to God.