Hardship that Leads to Fatigue
Hardship That Leads to Fatigue
Sometimes life seems hopeless to navigate. The brokenness of a cursed world fills our news feed, our churches, our homes, and our own hearts. Natural disasters seem like they’ll never end. Sin seems on the rise in as it reigns all around us. Sin sadly continues to rage on inside of us paradoxically because we still love it too much even though it saddens us deeply. And suffering of all kinds threatens to suffocate any last breaths of hope or joy. It would be hard to overstate the depth and breadth of brokenness all over the world that reaches right into our own homes.
Paul says it well in Romans 8:
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)
Sometimes all of life simply feels like an extended, confused groan at how we can possibly get up and keep putting our hands to the plow for the sake of Christ, especially when we feel the weight of frustration with our remaining sin and our relentless suffering.
Hope that Leads to Endurance
But, notice the hope at the end of verse 23. Those of us with the Spirit groan, but we groan as we wait eagerly for our full adoption, when Jesus returns and our broken bodies, filled with sin and suffering now, are redeemed to be imperishable, glorious, powerful, and totally controlled by the Spirit to take in the wonders of the beauty of our God for all of eternity (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
But, that hope doesn’t simply remain there, functionally dead until the day we see Jesus. That hope is alive (1 Peter 1:3) and lives in us to help us live in this broken world for the cause of Christ despite in the midst of sin and suffering.
1 Peter 1:3-9 gives us a great description of how our living hope works amidst the trials of this life. Here are four things to fix your eyes on as you are tempted to despair today from this passage.
- God’s Mercy In Christ Will Win the Day
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (v.3).
In the midst of our groaning over brokenness around us it is easy to move to grumbling against God. We can forget that our greatest problem has already been taken care of. Our sin has been forgiven in the work of Christ. We have been reconciled to God. We have been born again to a living hope that cannot be destroyed even by death, but in fact, turns death into an usher that brings us to God (1 Corinthians 15:50-57).
And it is all by mercy. The God of the universe has loved us in Jesus because of mercy. He has saved us because of mercy. Stop and marvel at the holiness of God, the depth of your sin, and then the mercy of God in Christ to us. Even in the worst days, this should bring us to humble praise to know that we are loved by the God of the universe because of mercy alone. And his mercy will complete what it has started and bring us to glory.
- Glory is Coming and it is Never Ending
To an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. (v.4)
The greatest thing we will inherit is God himself, seeing him in his unmediated glory and beauty and enjoying him forever, perfectly enjoying the perfect love of heaven (1 Corinthians 13:4-13).
And this inheritance will never perish. It will never be blemished or imperfect in any way. And it will never fade in its glory and beauty. And God is keeping it for you right now if you are in Christ. It is coming because God is keeping it for you. And it will never end or fade. O, Christian, God’s mercy will bring you to God forever.
- God Will Empower Your Faith
Who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (v.5)
Peter teaches us that our faith guards us to our inheritance. At first, that might not sound like great news. Sometimes our faith feels weak and shaky. It seems like one more bout with sin or suffering could be the knockout punch. But, in this verse Peter teaches us that God’s power empowers our faith. God's power is behind our faith and ensuring our faith.
So, if you currently feel like a smoldering wick or a bruised reed, remember that Jesus will hold you fast, not put you out or break you (Isaiah 42:3). Instead, the God, who by his mercy caused you to be born again, is working his power to keep your faith to bring you to your inheritance while he keeps your inheritance for you.
- You Will Rejoice in Jesus in the Refining Fire
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. (vv.6-7)
Notice that rejoicing and grief occur simultaneously here. “In this you rejoice…you have been grieved.” Why this joy and this grief?
There is great grief because of the sin and the suffering – the trials of life are really painful. However, they are not without purpose.
There is great joy because God is using them to refine your faith like gold that is refined by fire, and Peter says that the tested genuineness of our faith is more precious than that gold. And refined faith senses the true preciousness of the most precious object when everything else is stripped away and Jesus is enough.
Joy in Jesus is the Heartbeat of Our Endurance
What could be more precious than going through the fires of life and finding that although the trials seem more real than you could have ever imagined, and although you have never seen Jesus, you still love him, believe in him, and rejoice in him with inexpressible and glorified joy?
What could be more precious than seeing Jesus with the eyes of your heart after being shaken to the core of your being? The joy here is “glorified joy” because it is joy that does not make sense in light of the present circumstances of this earthly life, but is joy that fills our hearts as we behold the preciousness of Jesus by faith and say, “Yes, he is worth it. Yes, he is my treasure. Yes, I count all loss compared to him.”
And in that moment we know that we have indeed been born again to new life through Jesus. We know that God indeed is empowering our faith. We know that the trials indeed have purpose. We know that it is indeed all by the mercy of God. And above all we know that one day the mercy of God, through our empowered faith, will certainly lead us to a glorious inheritance that will never end when our faith becomes sight.