“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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 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). 

Have you ever seen the movie The Money Pit? I would encourage you to do so even though I couldn’t stand it. Why? Because it’s a bad movie? No. It’s because I’m afraid what happened to that couple and their house might happen to me. You know, where everything goes wrong. They see moments of promise only to watch them evaporate into an ongoing series of crises. One mess after another. Absolutely drove me nuts! And yet today was one of those days for me. 

Now I think we all need to keep some perspective. No, no one I know was tragically killed in an auto accident today. No friend was diagnosed as terminally ill. No appendages were lost. Nobody that I know went to their eternal destiny without Jesus. And I didn’t lose my eternal salvation. It was just a matter of a seemingly interminable series of things that went wrong. All relatively out of my control yet, one after the other, the dominoes of chaos fell. I don’t want to embellish here but we all have those days, don’t we? But this series of minor calamities sure tested my faith. I was close to falling into the proverbial “faith pit.” 

Are these types of things really a test? On a large scale, probably not. But on a small scale, yes. Peter understood this when he said “various trials.” They aren’t all “big.” Sometimes it’s the cumulative effect of a series of small challenges that causes our carnal mind to ask, “OK, sovereign God, where are you now?” Or the infamous and often myopic, “Why Me, Lord?” The answer, according to Peter, is “He is there, He is working, and there is a purpose in these tests” (I call them “Christ-centered quizzes” or “Cross-exams”). And Peter knew of what he spoke. His was a life of various, some very serious, trials. 

Sometimes this all seems rather cruel and selfish on God’s part, doesn’t it? You know, Him allowing us to endure such trials. But God’s seeking His glory in our trust is one of the most compassionate and empowering things he could ever do for us! For in orchestrating events to undermine our self-reliance He makes it possible for us to find our trust in Him alone; the one who will never fail, falter, or forsake us. There is incomparable confidence for our souls in learning to trust in God, not ourselves, in experiencing divine strength, not human weakness. 

Paul is saying the same thing to the church at Corinth. We should park ourselves in this passage on those days when it seems as if we are being swallowed by “the faith pit”: “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10). 

With Paul’s words still resonating let’s highlight the language Peter uses in 1 Peter 1:3-7. The clear message in this text is that our trials are God’s tools to make us trust Him more (v. 6-7). And that is one of the most loving and gracious things He could do; to draw us closer to Himself as our greatest treasure. So the verbiage of Peter’s thoughts is a resounding declaration of God’s goodness over ALL things. Notice the phrases in these verses:

  • “Blessed be …God”
  • “his great mercy”
  • “he has caused us to be born again to a living hope”
  • “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you”
  • “by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation”
  • “In this you rejoice”
  • the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold”
  • “found to result in praise and glory and honor … of Jesus Christ” 

The point of Peter’s soaring language is that the sovereign purpose of God is overriding the affairs, tests, challenges, and tribulations (big and small) of His beloved children for His own glory. We may not see it. We may not sense it. We may not feel it. But Peter’s verbiage says it is ALL of God. And we should embrace these great truths because they justify our trust in Him. For in all things God is there!  In all of our trials He is refining our faith; a faith that is more precious than gold. A faith that is tried, tested, and found worthy. A faith that culminates in our eternal salvation and reward. And, most importantly, it is faith in the One that is always there for us and is using our trials to move us ever closer to and more reliant on Him.

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