Trial as Fire
1 Peter 1:6-9
Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:…

Trial is here compared to fire; that subtle element which is capable of inflicting such exquisite torture on our seared flesh; which cannot endure the least taint or remnant of impurity, but wraps its arms around objects committed to it with eager intensity to set them free and make them pure; which is careless of agony, if only its passionate yearning may be satisfied; which lays hold of things more material than itself, loosening their texture, snapping their fetters, and bearing them upwards in its heaven-leaping energy. What better emblem could there be for God, and for those trims which He permits or sends, and in the heart of which He is to be found?

1. But this fire is a refiner's fire (Malachi 3:3).

(1) It is He who permits the trial. The evil thing may originate in the malignity of a Judas, but by the time it reaches us it has become the cup which our Father has given us to drink. The waster may purpose his own lawless and destructive work, but he cannot go an inch beyond the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. The very devil must ask permission ere he touches a hair of the patriarch's head. The point up to which we may be tested is fixed by consummate wisdom. The weapon may hurt and the fire sting, but they are in the hands which redeemed us.

(2) It is He who superintends the trial. No earthly friend may be near, but in every furnace there is One like the Son of Man.

(3) It is He who watches the progress of the trial. No mother bending over her suffering child is more solicitous than He is. Suiting the trial to your strength.

2. Trial is only for a season. "Now for a season ye are in heaviness." The great Husbandman is net always threshing. The showers soon pass. Our light affliction is but for a moment.

3. Trial is for a purpose. "If needs be." There is utility in every trial. It is intended to reveal the secrets of our hearts, to humble and prove us, to winnow us as corn is shaken in a sieve, to detach us from the earthly and visible, to create in us an eager desire for the realities which can alone quench our cravings and endure forever.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

WEB: Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials,

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