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 greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials ...
In a study through the book of James that my women's small group and I are going through, we were asked to read through these scriptures, taken from I Peter 1:3-6 in regards to experiencing trials. James had said that "blessed" is the man who endures great trial -- how is that? Well these verses above tell us.
I'll be honest -- these past few months have been some trying ones for various reasons. My church body and women's group have all been experiencing trials simultaneously, and we have been in need of some comfort. After reading these verses however, we were simply blown away at what comfort there is for us.
For those of you reading who are struggling with various trials (note Peter says various -- there are so many different trials that can come our way), please take heart with me in the incredible promise we have in Jesus, the resurrected Lord of all who has defeated death (please pause and fully embrace what that statement actually means for you) and right now keeps a place for you in His heaven.
His mercy is great. Our God is one of compassion -- always. He is mercy and He is hope. There is hope for you, oh saint! When Jesus rose from death itself, He becomes now and always a living, breathing hope for us! He lives forever and waits for us to join Him in eternity, where He can hold us close in a fervent, fixed embrace.
We have an inheritance. Because God has chosen to call us His children, we have the inheritance of eternal life. Think of what that means! We don't have to fear death anymore, and we have a vast amount of heavenly wealth stored up for us in Christ. We didn't earn it, so we don't have to worry about losing it. It remains because of the grace of Jesus, our Savior.
God's power guards us. Guess what, believer? We are protected by God Himself! We are guarded through the faith we have in His goodness, and by Jesus' gift once and for all, we have salvation -- which I do not think we will fully recognize until we reach heaven. That is why we will be floored and want to worship Him forever and ever ...
And so we rejoice in all these things promised to us!! But Peter acknowledges that, yes, we will be grieved by trials. He doesn't say that we can avoid them, nor does he say that we will necessarily walk through them easily. Trials are grievous. They're hard. Jesus knows that. He endured more pain, emotional and physical, than I think we realize. He embraced it. He didn't stop himself from weeping at his friend Lazarus' death, nor did he stop the sweat from pouring as He prayed anxiously in the Garden. He felt. He grieved. What makes us think we are above Him as to not be grieved in the same way? It's okay to grieve and go through pain. We are humanity living in a fallen world.
But, for the joy that was set before Him -- that heavenly storehouse waiting for Him to return to -- He endured (Heb. 12:2). As we are called to endure. And He did so to death -- even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8). We, His servants, are certainly no greater than our Master. If He endured trials, so must we. And as He rose from death, so will we -- when we leave this place, we will be called to our real home, that great Home in God Himself which gave our Jesus the strength to keep persevering.
Beloved, we serve a God of mercy. We have a living hope. We will partake of a glorious inheritance. We are guarded by the power of God Himself through our faith. What cause to rejoice! Be encouraged. We will walk through trials, but there is One who has walked the road before us who to this day chooses to walk with us. You are loved, child of God!
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." -- James 1:12