Summary: We can find joy in the midst of suffering... We can take courage and rejoice knowing that after all we've been through, it's going to be worth it all.
Today, we will “Find Joy in Suffering”…
Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 1:3-6…
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
Today, we are going to talk about suffering… Remember that this is not our home… In our home in heaven, the Bible says there will be no more death, no more crying, no more pain (Rev. 21:4). But we are not home yet.
Jesus tells His disciples in John 16:33…
“33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus is telling them that they will experience suffering and sorrow/grief… Part of this is just a fact of life… life is difficult… loved ones die… we experience pain and sickness… we struggle to pay our bills and feed our family... we worry about the future.
Sometimes we suffer because of the bad choices we make… sin has consequences. We suffer in our relationships with our spouses, with our friends… Sin eats away at our marriages, our families, our jobs, our community, our health.
But sometimes we suffer for doing the right thing… we suffer because we live our lives in obedience to Jesus Christ and His word. We are mistreated, persecuted for our faith. Or we suffer because we are reminded of all the things we sacrificed… all the things we gave up… all the things we left behind when Jesus called to us and said, “Follow Me”.
Suffering is real, and everyone will experience suffering at various times in their lives here on earth. All of these examples of suffering are actual events from my own life. These are all struggles that I have personally been through… Some are things I’m struggling with right now.
But God is telling us through Peter’s letter that we can Find Joy in Suffering. Peter is also very familiar with suffering. Not only did he personally witness the suffering of Jesus, but he remembers the pain of personal failure when he denied Christ three times… and now, in verse 6 of his letter, he tells us…
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
He tells us to “greatly rejoice”! But how do we find joy in suffering? Peter tells us how in these verses… No matter what we’re experiencing at the moment, we can greatly rejoice in three things:
1. LIVING HOPE… verse 3 tells us that God “in His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”… Because Jesus is alive… because He is no longer in the grave… death has been defeated… and God gives this life to us… when we thru faith accept the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus, then we are given new life. This is something that we can take great joy in! God’s great mercy has been given to us! Jesus is alive! And because Jesus is alive, we also have this living hope, that we too will experience resurrection into eternal life and will be with Him.
Romans 8:22-25 says it like this…
“22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
This is our living hope… our resurrection into eternal life… This is a promise that you can always count on… regardless of how difficult your struggles are right now.
2. INHERITANCE… Then in verse 4 of Peter’s letter, he says God is giving us “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.”
Do you understand what an inheritance is? When your grandparents die, they will probably leave property, or money, or furniture, or any number of things to their children… who will then pass on what they have accumulated on to their children, and so on. Some families have large estates to pass to their children as an inheritance… others may not have much at all.