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. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
A young man became a monk in a monastery that requires a vow of silence. He can only speak two words every five years. At the end of year five the head monk calls the kid in and says, “My boy you now can say two words.” To which the boy replies, “food stinks.” Five more years go by, and the head monk says, “My boy you may now say two words.” The boy says, “bed hard.” At the end of the next five years the head monk calls the boy in and says, “You may now say two words.” The kid says, “I quit.” The head monk replies, “I’m not surprised! All you’ve done since you’ve gotten here is complain!”
Do we find ourselves complaining more than usual these days? Two years into COVID, our sense of weariness is real. We watch the events in Ukraine unfold and ask, “How long oh Lord?” Maybe we have prayed like Tevye in the famous musical Fiddler on the Roof when he looks at God and says, “I know we are your chosen people, but couldn’t you choose someone else once and awhile?”
Years ago Dr Robert Schuler, an American pastor, wrote a book called, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” I found it to be rather good book, but it reminded me of the deeper truth written by the Apostle Peter. According to Peter, the only thing that lasts longer than tough times is true faith. A Christian with true faith in the Lord can make it through anything.
When Peter wrote this first epistle (letter), the church was facing persecution and testing. Some believers were beginning to question whether God could allow such suffering or pain. If we have ever cried out to God, “Why me? Why now? Why this? How long?” then we can identify with the Christians to whom Peter is writing.
Peter says that while we should rejoice in our salvation, for a little while we may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. By ‘little while,’ of course, Peter means that when compared to eternity, our suffering is just a momentary blip on the screen of our eternal life.
“What??” We ask. “I don’t remember being told that when I became a Christian!!” We might have thought that once we accepted Jesus into our hearts that our lives would be a flow of relatively happy events, with a few small bumps once and awhile to keep us reasonably humble! To that immature thinking, Peter offers this simple but powerful truth: tough times never last, but true faith does.
CH (COL-ret), USA