Facing the death of a loved one. Dealing with family conflict. Experiencing issues at work or getting laid off from a job. Trouble with finances. Suffering for the faith. In this life, we all are bound to meet hardships and trials head-on. The questions posed for us, especially as Christians, is this: how will we respond? It is so tempting to turn bitter and to adopt the feeling of hopelessness. But that is the way of the world, not the way of the Word. God, through the writing of Peter, directs us to what we put our hope in, even in the midst of life’s circumstances and difficulties. This hope is a living hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The living hope we have is because of God’s mercy and because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus Christ ensures our resurrection if we have, indeed, repented of our sins and have trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior. Moreover, looking back at our salvation, we see the work of God, namely “he has caused us to be born again” (1:3). We can be certain of hope because of the One who gives us the hope, for He is guarding us (1:5). Notice, too, the living hope we have through the resurrection is so that we may receive an inheritance that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1:4). In other words, the inheritance we receive as those born again by Christ in the gospel is an eternal inheritance. Though we may face testings, trials, and sufferings now, they are temporary (1:6) while our inheritance is eternal.
This living hope causes us to see life and hardships from a different perspective. Viewing trials from a biblical perspective, the Christian can see the reason and intended result of various difficulties in life. In the midst of suffering, there is a refining work God is doing to reveal the genuineness of faith in the Christian’s life. As the Christian perseveres through these times, the result will be honor from God at the return of Christ (1:7). For this, we rejoice. We do not slap a happy face and rejoice for rejoicing’s sake. Rather, we genuinely find in a reason to rejoice in the midst of sufferings, not because of the sufferings themselves. This is all made plain when we see the reason we can rejoice is because of Jesus. Although we have not seen Him face-to-face, by faith we love Him and we believe in Him. Because of His resurrection we have been born again. Because of Him we receive an eternal inheritance. Because of Him we can face difficult times while still rejoicing. Because of Christ, we can have a living hope.
- How do you typically respond to the sufferings and trials you face? How does the Word of God inform you in your response?
- What role does the local church play in helping you face these trials with a biblical perspective?
- The next time you face a trial, how can you meditate on the truth of a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ?