There are days when our joy skirmishes into the shadow of trials and hardships. Trials can steal our joy and cause doubts or questions as to the possibility of joy.
Trials come to all of us, even Christians. They don’t come when it is convenient. They can come without warning. They don’t necessarily come one at a time but can come as a barrage. They can repeat over and over again. They can even range in severity and duration from momentary annoyance to lifelong anguish.
Feeling encourage yet?
Peter says joy is possible even in our darkest situations. Joy is possible because Jesus. Peter share at least three ways how Jesus completes our joy under trials.
“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. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:2-9, ESV
Jesus is the source of joy, even under trials.
Jesus endured the greatest trials known to man. He endured the cross for a greater joy—our joy. Jesus is our joy because he alone saves and raised from the grave (v.3). The resurrection of Jesus secures our hope and joy. He has reserved for us joy, guards it, and will complete it (vs.4-5). Despite our circumstances, we can have confidence that Jesus is for our joy.
Jesus is a light that eclipses the temporal trials of life.
A glorious day is dawning when our trials will be no more and we will be free from the pain and brokenness in this world (v.6). This is really good news.
Trials have their good purpose. Under trials we learn about Jesus and grow to be more like him. How we respond to trials shows our closeness to Jesus. If we embrace trials as an opportunity from God, they will sift our faith and the result is the glory of Jesus because faith that shines more stunningly than gold (v.7).
Jesus knows our trials very well.
Jesus walked into our shoes. He lived in this broken world. He knows what it is like to be rejected, falsely accused, abused, abandoned and persecuted. And even though we have not seen him we are drawn to him, we love him, we trust him more and more, and he fills us today with an inexpressible joy and hope of the complete salvation of our soul (vs.8-9).
Jesus is our joy today and forevermore.
Questions for Reflection:
- How has Jesus been your joy?
- What is the “living hope”? How does this hope transform the way you live?
- Why is the resurrection so important? To Christianity? To our own hope? To understanding Jesus as God?
- Did people know Jesus was going to die and resurrect?
- How does the Jesus resurrection change people? Compare John 20:19 to Acts 4.
- What is an inheritance? What is the inheritance that Peter talks about?
- What is the significance of the words “imperishable,” “undefiled,” and “unfading”?
- What is unique about Peter’s use of the word “salvation” in this passage? Do you see past, present and future aspects of salvation in this passage?
- What is the purpose of trials in our life? Do you think about this in the midst of trials?
- What is the connection between faith, joy, and salvation?
- How do you express your love for Jesus?
- What things in your life subdue in expressible joy?