by Shannon Caughey
Have you ever had a game (or maybe even a season) in which it seemed like everything that could go wrong does go wrong? It’s tempting in situations like that to ask, “Why me? Why do I have to go through this?” When we face difficulties and trials, whether in sports or other areas of life, it’s natural to want to know why this is happening to us.
God in his perfect wisdom may not always provide the detailed answers we’re looking for, but in the Bible he does speak to the “why” behind trials. One of the passages that addresses this is found in 1 Peter 1. Peter starts by reminding us of the foundational Easter “wins” that are ours when we surrender to Christ in faith: “3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.”
Because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, we are “born again” when we place our faith in Christ. This means Jesus rescues us from being eternally dead because of our sins and gives us new and eternal life – his resurrection life. And because of Jesus’ resurrection, “now we live with great expectation.” This is another way of saying that we live with real hope.
Hope is the confident expectation that God is working and he will fulfill his promises, even though we don’t yet fully see it. Part of this hope is the promised future the Lord has for us: “a priceless inheritance.” Another part of this hope is the promise that Christ uses what we experience in the present, including trials and difficulties, to enable us to trust him more deeply – preparing us for the incredible future he has for us.
This is what Peter says in vv. 6-7: “6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
Consider the difference between coaching a team that has abundant hope for future success versus a team that has little hope for future success. When you have genuine hope that you can have a successful season, you’re much more able to handle adversity along the way. Without this hope, adversity can derail a team.
When you’re on Christ’s team, Jesus’ resurrection gives you ironclad reasons for abundant hope for what he has in store no matter how difficult present trials are. You can know that God uses trials to demonstrate how much you matter personally to him. Because he loves you, he has a glorious future for you (v. 4). He also wants you to grow and thrive in your faith in the present. Trials have a way of motivating you to depend upon the Lord more fully, strengthening your faith so that you grow closer to him. As you do so, you’ll experience his loving care and gracious work more deeply.
In addition, Jesus’ resurrection assures you God will give you everything you need to persevere through trials. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the power by which God protects you and enables you to hold fast to him when hard things come.
Maybe it feels like you’re in a season in which everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Refocus on this Easter “win”: Jesus rose from the dead, giving you a living, unshakeable hope. God loves you and he’s at work in the midst of even the most difficult trials. Let Christ’s resurrection fuel deeper trust in him no matter what you’re experiencing.
For reflection: With the trials you’re encountering, ask the Lord to help you hold onto the hope you have in him. Also pray for responsiveness to his work of refining and deepening your faith as you walk through these trials.