“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6).
It is sometimes difficult to know how to respond when we are in the midst of a harrowing trial. However, 1 Peter 1:6 gives us several insights that can help us navigate such challenges whenever we encounter them.
We can begin by examining the phrase “if need be.” As difficult as it may be to acknowledge, these trials (and the grief they produce) may form a necessary component of God’s agenda for our lives. In some instances, it is relatively easy to see why it may be needful to “…go through many hard trials” (CEV). For example, if we have chosen to engage in a Biblically inappropriate behavior, we should not be surprised to discover that God has allowed a corrective action to enter our lives.
On the other hand, God may allow such trials for no discernable reason. Job, the famous Biblical personality, may represent the best example of that difficult reality. Job was oblivious to the spiritual drama that initiated the sufferings he endured. Nevertheless, God had a purpose in his life experience, even if Job was unaware of it at the time.
So while it is sometimes difficult to determine why we may be required to “struggle in various trials” (HCSB), 1 Peter 1:6 assures us that such things are ultimately necessary. Thus, we may assume that God has good reasons to permit us to endure them. Paul the Apostle echoed a similar theme in his epistle to the Philippian church…
“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me” (Philippians 1:29-30).
Paul clearly knew what it meant to suffer (see 2 Corinthians 11:25-27 for some examples). But Paul also looked upon those experiences as opportunities to share in what Jesus endured for him. Every trial had an ultimate objective, and Paul was able to derive value from those trials as he trusted in the God who had a purpose behind them. Therefore, as we are reminded in the Biblical book of Hebrews…
“…My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child… No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12: 5-6, 11 TLB).