1 Peter 1:6-9
Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:…
Trials are of many kinds. Some are very slight; but often a little thing is more severely felt than one that is greater. There are all the little annoyances which happen every hour; things go contrary to our wishes; we have to give up our wills; we are disappointed of our hopes. There are pains of body and sickness; there is the sickness of our dear friends. Now trial is natural to us: it belongs to us as children of Adam. But to Christians trials come in a somewhat different way. They belong to us as members of Christ.
I. The first thing to be thought when we have any trial, is THAT IT COMES FROM GOD. It is not a proof of any special wickedness in the person to whom it is sent, nor of God's being specially angry with that person. Quite the contrary. God feels towards each of you the very same tender fatherly love that you feel to your dear boy; and so He corrects you as you correct that boy. And just as you take the trouble to prune and attend to the fruit tree which bears well, in the hope that it will bear still better, so God sends trouble to them who are doing good, in the hope that they will do still better. In all troubles, then, look to God — receive them from Him as the best things which your loving Father can send you.
II. Think, next, WHAT ARE THEY SENT FOR? They are punishments for sins, that is true; but see the wonderful goodness of God: these punishments His love turns into mercies and blessings. What does He send them for?
1. To remind us of our sins; to make us remember our sins, that through His mercy we may repent of them.
2. To draw our thoughts towards Himself. "In their affliction they will seek Me early."
3. They are called trials — that means things which try. What do they try? They try us, whether we can trust God when matters seem to be going wrong.
4. To make us patient. Patience is that great gift which most especially helps to make us perfect Christians. "Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." When we quietly give up our way to others — when we are disappointed and do not fret — when we ourselves have sharp pains to bear and we do not repine — then we are learning to become more perfect Christians — then we are becoming holier — we are really growing into what God intends us to be.
III. THEY LEAD US ON TO THE CROWN. To conclude.
1. Try to think in this way of all troubles whatsoever, of all the little vexations of life, as well as of the heavier afflictions which come more seldom.
2. Look on continually to the end — the end of all things — heaven and eternity! This will encourage you to bear what now seems so painful. The hope of what is coming will cheer you up.
3. And especially look continually to Jesus Christ, and the example He has set us. Look to Him continually, "lest you be weary and faint in your minds."
(W. H. Ridley, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: