When Times are Tough, Rejoice!

Are you going through a difficult time right now? Does you life seem to be nearly falling apart? Have you have a hard experience lately?

Everyone suffers.

I read somewhere once that “all people suffer.” This life is hard at times, sometimes really hard. Don’t we all ask at times, “Why me? Why, God? Why this? Why now?”

Peter wrote to people who were suffering.

The Apostle Peter wrote to Christians who were undergoing severe persecution. They must have asked those questions too. They were undergoing “fiery trials.” They were being slandered. There was the real possibility of fearful persecution from the Roman Empire. Christians were being martyred by Nero in Rome.

Peter’s epistles are a good read for tough times.

In the following verses Peter wrote some remarkable things…

1 Peter 4:12-14:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (NASB)

Rejoice!

He advises us to rejoice! Seems crazy, doesn’t it–certainly from a this-world perspective. We’ve heard the verse so many times, “All things work together for good…” (Romans 8:29), but at times that can be hard to believe.

But Peter counsels us: Don’t be surprised when difficulties come. Instead rejoice, be rejoicing even in the midst of it. Why? So on that glorious day in the future when Jesus is fully revealed, you will be able to rejoice a lot and with exaltation in the victory you obtained by your God-pleasing attitude. “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 1:12, NASB).

Believe God now.

You see, then we will be with the Lord, and we experience the blessings of those many trials, especially the ones we endured with a good attitude and with faith in God.  In fact, with Peter we will consider them precious…

More valuable than gold

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 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…”  (1 Peter 1:6-9, NASB)

More precious than gold refined by fire. That’s a strong statement. How would you like to have a chest full of pure gold coins in your possession right now? That would be exciting, right?  Yet Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says those troubles we hate and all too often fear, are that precious.

Fit for Ministry

One last point: Just like Jesus, who went through the terrible suffering of His cross, can be touched by our troubles and weaknesses and is so able to help us (Heb. 2:18; 4:15), just like the Apostle Paul suffered a lot and yet, it fitted him for such an abundant ministry to believers then and now (Col. 1:24), so our troubles when we endure them with the best attitude (the rejoicing of faith) fit us to be a blessing to others.

And isn’t that a good definition of ministry: being a blessing to others?

I also read once that we should not “waste our sorrows.” How true. So let’s, you and I, remember that God is indeed in control, that we can indeed trust  Him, and set our hearts to do that. (1 Peter 4:19; Heb. 12:4-11.)

 

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