though now for a little while (1 Peter 1:6)
Sorrows last only for a season. Peter presents a perspective on suffering. It is an eternal perspective. Even if we suffered for our entire life, in the light of eternity it would be but a little while.
Suffering lasts for a short season. It is only for a “little while”
Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
II Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Some of us have more trouble than others. The more we suffer here, the greater the reward hereafter.
I Peter 5:10 “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Seasons of suffering will pass. Winter is here; spring will come; we will enjoy summer.
If we suffer from loneliness, we are in our late 40s and it does not appear that we will marry, it still is only for a little while. If our bodies are racked with disease and pain, it is for a little while. Time is little in comparison to eternity.
God designs suffering with time parameters.
Winter is here but spring is coming. God knows how much we are able to suffer. Although, we may face deep waters now, they will eventually recede.
God knows when suffering is necessary. He knows when we need encouragement. He knows when we need pressure. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.
Some people say, “Why does this have to happen to me?” We think that we get more than our fair share of pain. Yet it could be worse. Look at the pain of some others. They face far greater difficulty than we do. Evidently God knows they have the character to take it. On the other hand, they may be too rebellious for him to take off the pressure.
Trouble will not continue without end. The difficulty we presently face will look different a year from now. You may face slander or gossip. This will pass. You may be in deep financial waters. It will eventually pass. You may fear the future. We fear what we cannot see. God’s sustaining grace can meet any situation.
God measures out a certain amount of trial to each of us (I Thessalonians 3:3; I Peter 2:21). We each will get our share. Trial will do us good. Medicine does not usually taste good. Bitter experiences taste bad. We cannot always have things our own way. God has a purpose for everything.
Most of us react to trouble as if trouble was not in God’s design for us. We sing the blues. We get out the crying towel. We push the panic button. From our reaction you’d think God was dead. Our spiritual reflexes are not very good.
Our children watch us and wonder. They can detect inconsistency in us. In the process we mark them indelibly when they are young and impressionable. They cannot see what our faith does for us. When they grow up, they drop out of church. We gave the impression that God is dead. You did not mean to do it but you did it anyway.
God is training us for eternity. This is boot training down here. Some of the lessons are hard to learn. Some lessons are bitter. At times we flunk the course and God makes us take it again.
God wants us to view trial from his vantage point.
When we look at our problems from his
viewpoint, they look insignificant. If we stand at the mouth of the Grand Canyon from the south rim it looks immense. We cannot see it all. However, if we fly over the canyon, from 30,000 feet it looks like a hole in the ground. The difference is the perspective from which we view it. Like viewing the Grand Canyon from the south rim, our problems look vast. When we look at those problems from God’s viewpoint, we put them in perspective.
Dr. Grant Richison. (n.d.). 1st Epistle of Peter -1.
if need be
Sorrow is necessary for the Christian’s development. It is a must for spiritual growth.
God appoints us to sorrow (1 Thessalonians 3:3).
These sorrows never stay longer than they must.
The word “need” signifies that which is needful, due, proper. It is what must take place, and it often implies inevitability (Mark 13:7). The events of our lives are part of God’s plan and purpose for us.
“Need” connotes the element of necessity in an event. Under God’s economy it is logically necessary that we face suffering. Suffering is God’s personal will for us, not neutral fate.
Jesus uses “need” for the imperative to do God’s will. It is the “need” of God’s sovereignty that governs his work and leads him to suffering and glory. Luke 4:43 But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” Luke 9:22 Saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” Luke 17:25 “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” This is God’s will as laid down in Scripture.
The followers of Christ stand under the same necessity Acts 9:6 “So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’ Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:16 “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 14:22 “Strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.'” It is a demand for obedient faith in every situation of life.
The New Testament uses “must” when referring to the coming of Christ. It is impossible to evade the reality of it happening. The necessity of it happening comes from the very nature of the God who has committed himself to this plan. Jesus in Matthew 24: 6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Mark 13: 10 “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” Revelation 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place.”
Luke uses this term for the necessity of prayer in the Christian life. Luke 18: 1 “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” Romans 8: 26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Suffering is necessary.
Suffering should never surprise us. The Christian should expect suffering. Everything that God sends our way is necessary. Every sickness is necessary. Every trial is necessary. Our trouble is part of the plan of God.
Some people say, “I never have trouble.” Just wait, it will come. If you do have trouble, join the club, we all face it.
God never sends one unnecessary tear drop. Suffering is a must. God does all things for a purpose.
This same word “must” appears when Jesus introduced the term “born again.” John 3: 7 “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.'”
Acts uses “must” for salvation as well. Acts 4: 12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts uses “must” of the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation. Acts 16: 30-31 “And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.'”
Will you respond to the imperative to receive Christ?
Dr. Grant Richison. (n.d.). 1st Epistle of Peter -1.
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you have been grieved by various trials
The word “various” means variegated or multicolored. The trials we face have many hews and colors. Some are small but others are king-size.
In the New Testament, the word “various” in “various trials” is used only one other time and that is in reference to trials as well – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” (James 1:2).
The Christian will face many kinds of trials. Peter again indicates that God’s grace manifests itself in various ways. “Various” is translated “manifold.” “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God,” (1 Peter 4:10).
God mixes the bitter and sweet. He is training us for glory. This is boot camp down here. We all face personal and family sorrow. We see sorrow in our community and nation and world. Paul carried sorrow for the lost (Romans 9:2, 4).
God mixes the bitter and the sweet to train us for glory.
Every Christian will face all sorts of trials– of faith, persistence, patience, loyalty. These trials will not necessarily come separately or successively. They can come all at once. They come from all angles. The piling up of these trials results in grief – personal heaviness. This is the plan of God for our personal maturity.
grieved by various trials
“Grieved” means to cause pain, or grief, to distress. It is a state of sadness. Mentally, grief is the anguish of misfortune, death, annoyance, insult, or outrage. The main idea of “grief” is sorrow (John 16:6; Romans 9:2; Philippians 2:27).
Grief leads to empathy. Jesus entered into grief in Gethsemane. We identify with the sufferings of Christ better when we suffer.
Grief is an integral part of the Christian life. It affords an opportunity to grow in the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. Acceptance of grief is acceptance of the cross (Galatians 6:14; Philippians 3:10-11; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Christ’s death on the cross plunged the disciples into grief. The very isolation from Jesus brought out the significance of fellowship with him (John 16:33). The pain of unjust suffering carries a rich reward when accepted in commitment to God (I Peter 4:21).
Trial means to try, to learn the nature or character of someone or something by submitting them to thorough and extensive testing — “to test, to examine, to put to the test, examination, testing.”
God permits or sends trials for character development: I Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” Suffering always causes grief to our souls.
God does not test our faith as much in prosperity as in adversity.
Though we live in hope we still grieve. Hope rises above grief but it does not eradicate it. Christians need the process of sorrow. We need to deal with it, not deny it. We need occasion to hurt and weep.
We sorrow, but not as others who have no hope.
Glib answers do not help the sorrowing process. We need to learn the value of grief. It will lead us to a fuller fellowship with God.
No one is free from trouble. These are the many colored trials of those who are in the family of God. Trouble comes in all forms: financial, marital, family. A great variety of trouble will come our way over a lifetime. Christians are not immune from trouble. God weaves a certain amount of hurt into our lives to develop our value of eternal things.
God does not enjoy putting us through pain. He does not glee in watching us flinch. Everything that comes into our life, including pain, comes by divine design. God has a reason for everything he does. We may understand it by and by.
Jesus faced trouble – “For if they do these things in the green wood (Jesus), what will be done in the dry? (Christians)” (Luke 23:31). Jesus was the green tree and the fire consumed him. What will happen to us who are dry twigs?
What kind of trouble do you presently face? The problems you face may not seem severe to someone else but they are intense to you.
Has trouble come to you in the large economy-size package? How are you handling your problems? Do you take God’s viewpoint on pain?