“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Pet. 1:6-7).”
When I first came to faith in Jesus, I preached virtually every weekend in the open air. I went to various places–downtown, bars and clubs, parks, social events, concerts, you name it. If it was a place where people gathered and could hear God’s word proclaimed, I was there.
One day I decided to share the gospel at a Nine Inch Nails concert. Many wore black gothic clothes and told me they worshipped Satan. I kept reiterating that Satan masquerades as an angel of light, not a scary gargoyle creature. I told them not to be deceived but to repent and put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. My goal was to balance the truth of God’s wrath and judgment with his mercy and grace.
While preaching this message, a man approached me, opened two beer cans, and poured it on my head. As I was dripping with beer juice, I looked the man squarely in the eye and told him–Jesus loves you. It was the grace of God that helped me love this person regardless of the mistreatment I endured from him. He walked away and continued shouting, “Hail Satan.” Afterwards, a man came up to me, was impressed with the genuineness of my faith, and proceeded to ask me questions about Jesus.
Though the Apostle Peter mentions in this passage that Christians will experience trials in this life, it pales in comparison to the glory that will be revealed at Christ’s return. The word trial here doesn’t mean the inner wrestling with evil inclination, but undeserved sufferings from real, physical and/or emotional persecution from others. Can you remember the last time you were persecuted for your faith? How did it make you feel? Do the promises of God help alleviate the pain?
Suffering will rob us of joy if we do not remember God’s word. He is telling us, “hang in there, don’t give up, trust in me.” No matter what happens to you, keep enduring through trials because someday every tear of sorrow will be wiped away. Also, you never know who is watching you during your greatest trials. If the mistreatment by the beer guy didn’t happen, would my conversation about Jesus have taken place? Only God knows.