1 Peter 1:6-7, Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
We have to remind ourselves that Christians are not immune to the events happening around them. Christians are still subject to grief and sorrow. When we go through the Scriptures, there is nothing more encouraging and instructive than reading that the servants of God have been and always will be subject to human frailties. This might seem like an absurd or strange thing to say, but horrible sufferings such as Paul and Job remind us that suffering is a normal part of the Christian life. Even more than that, their examples show us that God is always with us. Throughout the entire book of Job we read of his suffering and the distress going through his mind when he spoke, but at the end it becomes clear to us that God was with him the entire time. Even with Paul we find Christ in the midst of his suffering. Paul talks about having a thorn in his flesh, which he says was given to him in order to keep him from becoming arrogant because of the special revelations he received from God (2 Corinthians 12:7). Not only did he suffer to learn humility, but he also writes, “But He [Jesus] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In His suffering, Paul discovered his weaknesses and sufferings are only opportunities for the power of Christ to be shown.
The most indicative aspect of the Christian life through Paul—indeed, through all the apostles—is the fulfilment of Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” I go into more detail on this in my article with Geeks Under Grace, but essentially Jesus is saying true discipleship is to follow Him even unto death. If you suffer on account of Christ, be strong, and continue to bear your cross as you follow Him. Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Because Christ suffered for us, we will suffer for Him. The world crucified Christ; therefore, the world hates anything pertaining to Christ, including His people—us. Persecution and suffering are inevitable in the Christian life, yet the glory of the Christian life is, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). This is because of Christ, who said, “Take heart; I have overcome [conquered] the world” (John 16:33).
Stay tuned for next time when I continue discussing this “heaviness” and specifically regarding these “manifold temptations” we experience.