A couple of Sundays ago, we looked at 1 Peter 1:6-8, where God, through Peter, calls us to view our suffering and trials in a radically different way than we are accustomed:
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.
Peter says that the various trials we encounter are necessary to prove the genuineness of our faith. Necessary! How can Peter say this?
He can say this because of what trials DO. They are necessary because they are purposeful. God has good purpose for trials in the lives of his people. And the primary purpose that Peter refers to is their ability to confirm the genuineness of our faith and salvation.
What is more valuable than to have the genuineness of our faith confirmed? This evidence that we truly belong to God does at least three things.
First, it comforts us, as we are assured that we are really his. Second, it encourages other believers, as they see God working in us. And third, it testifies to the world that God is really present and powerful.
Peter says this “tested genuineness of…faith” is more precious than gold.
When we come to similarly value the tested genuineness of our faith, we can begin to see our trials as “necessary.” They aren’t random. They aren’t meaningless. For God’s people, in God’s providence, they are purposeful, and thus necessary.
Physical suffering. Emotional and psychological suffering. The loss of loved ones. Heartache at seeing loved ones sin. Relational conflict. Marriage or parenting struggles. Unmet dreams and expectations.
While we don’t go looking for these things, and we don’t have to enjoy the pain they bring, we can endure them with purpose, and even joy and thankfulness in what God is doing through them: strengthening and confirming our faith.