Barclay: Herein you rejoice, even if it is at present necessary that for a brief time you should be grieved by all kinds of trials, (Westminster Press)
KJV: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
NJB: This is a great joy to you, even though for a short time yet you must bear all sorts of trials;
Phillips: This means tremendous joy to you, I know, even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: Rejoice triumphantly in the prospect of this, even if now, for a short time, you are compelled to sorrow amid various trials.
Wuest: In which last season you are to be constantly rejoicing with a joy that expresses itself in a triumphant exuberance, although for a little while at the present time if perchance there is need for it, you have been made sorrowful in the midst of many different kinds of testings (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: in which ye are glad, a little now, if it be necessary, being made to sorrow in manifold trials,
|IN THIS YOU ( continuously) GREATLY REJOICE: en o agalliasthe (2PPMI): (1Peter 1:8; 4:13; 1Sa 2:1; Ps 9:14; 95:1; Isa 12:2,3; 61:3; 61:10 Mt 5:12; Lk 1:47; 2:10; 10:20; Jn 16:22; Ro 5:2,11; 12:12; 2Co 6:10; 12:9,10; Gal 5:22; Php 3:3; 4:4; 1Th 1:6; Jas 1:2,9)
Spurgeon's Sermon The Christian's Heaviness & Rejoicing
In this - In what? What is "this"? In context this would include causing us to be born again to a living hope (1Pe 1:3-note), keeping an inheritance for us in heaven (1Pe 1:4-note) and keeping us for that inheritance (1Pe 1:5-note) (a kept inheritance for a kept people). This section emphasizes the close connection between Christian truth (preceding verses) and Christian experience. A firm grasp of the glorious truths just enumerated by Peter can sustain the believer in and through the fiery trial.
You greatly rejoice - Spurgeon asks "can a Christian greatly rejoice while he is in heaviness? Yes, most assuredly he can. Mariners tell us that there are some parts of the sea where there is a strong current upon the surface going one way, but that down in the depths there is a strong current running the other way. Two seas do not meet and interfere with one another; but one stream of water on the surface is running in one direction, and another below in an opposite direction. Now, the Christian is like that. On the surface there is a stream of heaviness rolling with dark waves; but down in the depths there is a strong under-current of great rejoicing that is always flowing there.
Spurgeon then goes on to give 3 reasons explaining how it is that a believer can rejoice even though heavy in spirit…
Rejoicing in the face of tribulation is a common theme in the NT… for example, Paul explains to the Romans that one of the benefits of salvation (justification) by faith is exulting in hope (absolute certainty of future good - in this case our future glory) "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. (see glorification) 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Ro 5:1-5-see notes Romans 5:1-2, 5:3, 5:4-5)
Writing to the saints at Thessalonica, Paul encouraged them with the truth that "You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. (Notice that their tribulation was not purposeless and neither is any suffering for the sake of His Name). (1Thes 1:6-7-note)
John Piper observes that "our joy is based on the happiness of our future with God and the certainty that we will make it there. Christian joy is almost synonymous with Christian hope. That's why Peter says in verse 3 that we were born again into a living hope; then verses 4 and 5 describe the content of that hope; and then verse 6 begins, "in THIS you rejoice." In this you have living, vital, life-changing hope; and in this you rejoice. Our hope is our joy." A living hope results in a present joy. (from Joy Through the Fiery Test)
Wuest explains that the Greek construction supports that "The saints are to rejoice in the last time, that is, when they receive their glorified bodies at the Rapture. (Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
God has never promised that we would miss the storm,
Greatly Rejoice (21) (agalliao from agan = much + hallomai = jump; gush, leap, spring up) means literally to "jump much", "leap for joy", skip and jump with happy excitement and so to be exceedingly joyful, overjoyed or exuberantly happy.
The idea is this person shows their excessive, ecstatic joy by leaping and skipping. It describes jubilant exultation, a quality of joy that remains unhindered and unchanged by what happens. As discussed below in the NT, agalliao describes an exceeding joy (independent of dire circumstances) which is initiated and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Barclay writes that agalliao "is the joy which leaps for joy. As it has been put, it is the joy of the climber who has reached the summit, and who leaps for joy that the mountain path is conquered." (Daily Study Bible)
Barclay's picture of jumping joy is great, as long as I'm "on top of the world". What about when I am in the valley? Peter is teaching that a Christian does not have to be on a mountain top to experience this exceeding joy. In fact, as he teaches in this section, believers, because of their new nature (partakers of the divine nature), can experience this quality of joy even though they are walking through "the valley" of difficult circumstances!
Here in first Peter the present tense of greatly rejoice indicates that this attitude of exceeding joy was the reader's habitual practice in the face of trials, so that despite afflictions these saints were continually "jumping for joy"! They could rejoice because of the salvation that has been revealed ("past tense" = caused to be born again = justification) and even more in regard to the salvation to be revealed (future tense = glorification see also the three tenses of salvation) including a reserved inheritance, all being guarded by God. No insurance policy could be more secure!
Agalliao includes not just the experiencing of a state of great joy and gladness, but often is accompanied by audible, verbal expression and appropriate visible body movement (i.e., "jump for joy") Another verb meaning to rejoice (chairo) is more expressive of the inward feeling of joy.
Matthew Henry - Great rejoicing contains more than an inward placid serenity of mind or sensation of comfort. It will show itself in the countenance and conduct, but especially in praise and gratitude.
In discussing the suffering the saints were now or soon would experience (and historically he probably wrote this epistle shortly before or after the burning of Rome), Peter declared
As emphasized by Jesus in the section below, a Christian who is persecuted for righteousness in this life will have overflowing joy in the future because of his reward.
In His final "beatitude" Jesus encouraged all those who would suffer for His Name promising them that
The question you may be asking is how is it possible to "jump for joy" when you are experiencing various trials?
Luke gives us the answer, recording that Jesus' mother, Mary, upon discovering she was to be the mother of her Messiah exclaimed "my spirit has rejoiced (agalliao) in God my Savior." (Lk 1:47) indicating that the origin of the jubilation is the supernatural work of the Spirit (cf Gal 5:22-note, cp Ro 15:13). Luke goes on to record that Jesus Himself "rejoiced greatly (agalliao) in the Holy Spirit" (Lk 10:21, cp 1Th 1:6) which underscores the Source of this supernatural joy.
After the Philippian jailer had believed in the Lord Jesus and was saved "he brought (Paul and Silas) into his house and set food before them and rejoiced greatly (agalliao), having believed in God with his whole household." (Acts 16:31-note) (Notice the joy of salvation! Remember that great day when you were first saved? Do you still have that kind of joy?)
The same man who only moments earlier was contemplating taking his life, now was jumping for joy at his new birth wrought by the amazing grace of God!
Agalliao is not used by secular Greek writers (interesting! Truth be told they don't have anything to truly, hopefully jump for joy over - their joy is temporary, the believer's joy is eternal!) but Peter uses it 3 times this letter which also has a major theme of suffering (1Pe 1:6, 8, 4:13 - see notes 1 Peter 1:6; 1:8, 4:13)
Rienecker adds that agalliao "appears to be used always with the connotation of a religious joy, a joy that springs from the contemplation of God or God's salvation.
Agalliao is used 11 times in the NT…
Luke 1:47 (Mary said) And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Luke 10:21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight.
John 5:35 "He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
John 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad (chairo)."
Acts 2:26 'Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will abide in hope;
Acts 16:34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
1 Peter 1:6 (note) In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1 Peter 1:8 (note) and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1 Peter 4:13 (note) but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing (chairo); so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice (chairo) with exultation (agalliao).
Revelation 19:7 (note) "Let us rejoice (chairo) and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."
Sadness (lupeo) and gladness (agalliao) existing side by side as in this section of first Peter is one of the paradoxes of Christianity - joy in the midst of sorrow. The Christian’s joy is independent of circumstances and therefore baffles the natural man. Can you imagine being one of the prisoners in jail as Paul and Silas with lacerated backs began "praying and singing hymns of praise to God" (Acts 16:25-see note cf Acts 5:41 = So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.)
This quality of joy is not a cold intellectual anticipation of future possessions but is a present appropriation of God’s wealth through the Holy Spirit as discussed above. (Lk 10:21; Gal 5:22-note).
Grief is the natural response to the difficulties in this fallen world, but faith looks forward to an eternity with God (Click to study the prophetic verses from Isaiah) and rejoices as the Spirit enables us.
Commenting on the presence of joy in the midst of grief J. H. Jowett wrote “I never expected to find a fountain in so unpromising a waste.”
Corrie Ten Boom adds that "The school of life offers some difficult courses, but it is in the difficult class that one learns the most—especially when your teacher is the Lord Jesus Christ. The hardest lessons for me were in a cell with four walls. The cell in the prison at Scheveningen was six paces in length, two paces in breadth, with a door that could be opened only from the outside… After that time in prison, the entire world became my classroom."
William Penn said "No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
Agalliao in the OT - The non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) uses agalliao in 66 verses with 50 uses in the Psalms and 10 in Isaiah. (2 Sam. 1:20; 1 Chr. 16:31; Ps. 2:11; 5:11; 9:2, 14; 13:4f; 14:7; 16:9; 19:5; 20:5; 21:1; 31:7; 32:11; 33:1; 35:9, 27; 40:16; 48:11; 51:8, 14; 53:6; 59:16; 60:6; 63:7; 67:4; 68:3f; 70:4; 71:23; 75:9; 81:1; 84:2; 89:12, 16; 90:14; 92:4; 95:1; 96:11f; 97:1, 8; 98:4, 8; 118:24; 119:162; 132:9, 16; 145:7; 149:2, 5; Song 1:4; Isa. 12:6; 25:9; 29:19; 35:1f; 41:16; 49:13; 61:10; 65:14, 19; Jer. 49:4; Lam. 2:19; Hab. 3:18) Below are a few representative uses from the Psalms (you might get "joy" by studying the other uses in Psalms)…
Their joyful cry is the earthly counterpart of the heavenly doxology described in the Revelation. In light of the Lion of Judah's triumph over the Antichrist and the forces of evil and in anticipation of the marriage of the Lamb to His bride the Church, John records these these words
And so we see the saints jumping for joy in heaven and on earth!
Isaiah prophetically describing the time when the veil is removed from their eyes and the redeemed of Israel are finally enabled to recognize their Messiah in His kingdom centered on Mt Zion on earth (see also Millennium 1; Millennium 2; Millennium 3) writes
Again Isaiah prophesying in the context of the future Messianic kingdom on earth declare
Speaking of the time of the Millennium, when the Lord will transform the wilderness into a veritable "garden of Eden", Isaiah declares that
Finally Isaiah's prophecies utilizing agalliao culminate in this beautiful promise declaring to His beloved
Think of what wonders we have yet to behold…
You may be suffering today, beloved. But there is a new day coming. If you are suffering, if you are downcast in the present, then ponder your future. Ponder these verses in Isaiah picturing the exceeding joy that accompanies the Millennial reign. It doesn't get any better than this dear suffering saint.
Habakkuk was transformed from a man in despair to a man "jumping for joy" as He began to turn his focus upon God, finally concluding that
So here we see the prophet jumping for joy, even though the coming Babylonian invasion would strip the land. What an example of the effect a God centered mindset can have on our temporal outlook!
EVEN THOUGH NOW FOR A LITTLE WHILE IF NECESSARY (as it is) : oligon arti ei deon (PAPNSN) (estin) (3SPAI) : (2Co 4:17, 18)
For a little while is one word in Greek (oligos) which means small in number or little in amount. Mark it down, beloved - for a little while. All time is but for a little while in comparison to eternity. When you are in the darkness, hold on to what God has shown you in the light for it will pass. As Corrie Ten Boom puts it "When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer."
When you are in the midst of "distressing" circumstances the "little while" often seems like an eternity! But Peter says the trials last only for a little while when compared to eternity.
Light are the pains that nature brings;
And notice Peter begins and ends emphasizing the relative brevity of our suffering writing "After (this word signifies your suffering WILL END some day beloved! Hold on! He's coming!) you have suffered for a little while" (1Pe 5:10-note). And so clearly the time of suffering and distress has an end, for as C H Spurgeon so aptly said it "He who has fixed the bounds of our habitation has also fixed the bounds of our tribulation."
Again Paul encourages the saints at Corinth that their present affliction (thlipsis) is "momentary (for the moment, for a little while), light" and "is producing (thoroughly working out, achieving or accomplishing, carefully fashioning making completely ready) for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (2Corinthians 4:17-note).
Here are some other renderings of the great truth in 2 Corinthians 4:17…
If affliction and suffering are currently your lot and you feel overwhelmed, meditate on the truths in these passages (click the Scriptures above to read them in context) for a proper perspective on your present but passing painful plight in the light of eternity.
Matthew Henry adds that "though they (the trials) may be smart (cause sharp pain) they are but short."
If necessary - The If is not "iffy" but as a first class condition in Greek, it assumes the truth of the condition - It is necessary! Saints will suffer! Suffering is not an "elective" in God's school of Christ-likeness!
Thomas Watson - Another heart quieting consideration is—that afflictions work for good. "I have sent them into captivity for their own good." (Jer. 24:6). Judah's captivity in Babylon was for their good. "It is good for me that I have been afflicted" (Psalm 119:71). This text, like Moses' tree cast into the bitter waters of affliction, may make them sweet and wholesome to drink. Afflictions to the godly are medicinal. Out of the most poisonous drugs God extracts our salvation. Afflictions are as needful as ordinances (1Peter 1:6). No vessel can be made of gold without fire; so it is impossible that we should be made vessels of honor, unless we are melted and refined in the furnace of affliction. "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth" (Psalm 35:10). As the painter intermixes bright colors with dark shadows; so the wise God mixes mercy with judgment. Those afflictive providences which seem to be harmful, are beneficial. Let us take some instances in Scripture. (The WORST things)
John Angell James (1852) - Faith is assured that there is a NECESSITY for our trials. There is no Scripture it more readily assents to than that of the apostle Peter– "If needs be, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials." 1 Peter 1:6. Yes, there must be some kind of necessity—or he who loves his children so strongly would not thus afflict them. He himself is the judge of that necessity—and with him it must be left. But we are in all cases to be assured that it exists, though oftentimes it is hidden. Hence, the beautiful reply of Payson, who in his deep affliction was asked if he saw any particular reason for his heavy trials. "No," said he– "but I am as satisfied as if I saw ten thousand reasons. It is the will of God—and there is all reason in that." Our trials come sometimes when there seems, so far as our spiritual condition is concerned, less need than ordinary for them. And then is the time especially for confidence in God's wisdom and love, as to their necessity. When they find us in a backsliding state, and come like messengers to fetch us back from our truant wanderings, we know, rather than believe their necessity. We see and feel it as clearly as if a voice from heaven declared it. But to be overtaken with some severe visitation of Providence, when the soul is comparatively healthful, and its course is even and undeviating, and then to say– "I am sure there is some needs be for this, though I cannot see it. It lies hidden somewhere in the depths of God's wisdom and love, where I cannot find it; but I am sure it is there. My Heavenly Father does not afflict willingly—nor grieve the children of men, much less his own children—and I believe I am one of them." (Practical Believer)
Necessary (literally "if it be necessary") (1163) (dei from deo= to bind, tie objects together) means this is necessary (binding) or needful. Dei marks a logical necessity and not a moral obligation: we must rather than we ought. It therefore speaks of an obligation out of intrinsic necessity or inevitability. It is necessary that this happen. God will certainly prune us but never without purpose, for as Vance Havner said "The grace, the groans and the glory are all part of the eternal purpose. Where there is no groaning there is no growing now, nor glory to come."
Matthew Henry observes that "God's design in afflicting his people is their probation (the act of proving or testing), not their destruction; their advantage, not their ruin."
John Calvin adds that these necessary trials "are not afflicted by chance, but through the infallible providence of God."
Why should I complain
The heirs of salvation,
Trials are continually (the verb dei is in the present tense) necessary (binding), needful and inevitable and always with divinely ordained purpose. As Richard Sibbes said "God promises no immunity from crosses." God in His perfect wisdom knows that there are special times when we need to go through trials. But oh, the glories to follow, for as Spurgeon aptly puts it "There are no crown-wearers in heaven that were not cross-bearers here below."
Sometimes trials discipline us when we have disobeyed God’s will. The psalmist writes
Again he says
The writer of Hebrews sums up some of the benefits of trials that come on us in order to discipline us writing that earthly fathers
Jowett explains that "The purpose of God’s chastening is not punitive but creative. He chastens “that we may share His holiness.” The phrase “that we may share” has direction in it, and the direction points toward a purified and beautified life. The fire which is kindled is not a bonfire, blazing heedlessly and unguardedly, and consuming precious things; it is a refiner’s fire, and the Refiner sits by it, and He is firmly and patiently and gently bringing holiness out of carelessness and stability out of weakness. God is always creating even when He is using the darker means of grace. He is producing the fruits and flowers of the Spirit. His love is always in quest of lovely things. (J. H. Jowett, Life in the Heights, pp. 247, 248) (Ed: Praise be to Elohim, our Creator!)
At other times, trials prepare us for spiritual growth or even help to prevent us from sinning. Thus Paul after being transported to third heaven where he "heard inexpressible words" and revelations of "surpassing greatness" was given "a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet (him)—to keep (him) from exalting (himself)! (2 Cor 12:7) (Click for more discussion of The Third Heaven) After entreating the Lord to remove this thorn, the Lord replied "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Paul now had insight into the trial and declared "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Cor 12:9) We may not always know the need being met (Job did not understand Satan was being allowed to test him, see Job 1), but we can trust God to know and to do what is best.
Erwin Lutzer reminds us that "God often puts us in situations that are too much for us so that we will learn that no situation is too much for Him."
Dei is present tense indicating that these trials are continually inevitable! God knows those times when it is necessary for a saint to go through trials.
Samuel Rutherford emphasizes the certainty of trials writing that "You will not get leave to steal quietly to heaven without a conflict and a cross."
The Puritan Thomas Watson agreed writing "Though Christ died to take away the curse from us, yet not to take away the cross from us."
Spurgeon asked "How can I look to be at home in the enemy's country, joyful while in exile, or comfortable in a wilderness? This is not my rest. This is the place of the furnace and the forge and the hammer."
To those servants of God whom He purposes to use in a larger, greater way, many trials are allowed to come (they are necessary), for "we must be ground between the millstones of suffering before we can be bread for the multitude."
And in the case of a saint who is not living close to his Lord, it is necessary to send disciplinary trials to purge his life of sin and draw him into a closer walk with God
J C Ryle - Every cross is a message from God and intended to do us good in the end.
Matthew Henry - These troubles, that lie heavy, never come upon us but when we have need, and never stay any longer than needs must.
John Newton describes these trials as like "medicines which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes, because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires.
J. Vernon McGee in his pithy style - I know it is not at all popular to teach that God will prove us and lead us on to maturity through suffering. People would rather be encouraged to think that they are somebody important and that they can do great things on their own. My friend, we are nothing until the Spirit of God begins to move in our hearts and lives. We have nothing to offer to God. He has everything to offer to us. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Warren Wiersbe adds that the encouraging note that "We must keep in mind that all God plans and performs here is preparation for what He has in store for us in heaven. He is preparing us for the life and service yet to come. Nobody yet knows all that is in store for us in heaven, but we do know that life on earth is a school in which God trains us for our future ministry in eternity. This explains the presence of trials in our lives for they are some of God’s tools and textbooks in the school of Christian experience. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
YOU HAVE BEEN DISTRESSED: lupethentes (APPMPN): (Job 9:27,28 Ps 69:20, 119:28 Isa 61:3 Mt 11:28, 26:37 Ro 9:2 Php 2:26 Jas 4:9 )
You have been distressed - or as the KJV picturesquely puts it "though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations
Someone once wisely said that adversity introduces a man to himself and that God uses affliction as His shepherd dog to drive us back to the fold.
Spurgeon introduces his sermon on this verse and launches into a discussion of the Christian's "heaviness"…
Distressed (3076) (lupeo from lupe = sorrow) signifies pain, of body or mind and means to cause one to experience severe mental or emotional distress or physical pain which may be accompanied by sadness, sorrow or grief. The King James' translation of lupeo as heaviness parallels our colloquial sayings like -- "It weighs heavy on my soul" or "My soul is weighed down with affliction." or "My soul is so burdened."
The verb is aorist tense indicating past completed action which points to the fact that these saints have already experienced various trials.
Lupeo is used 26 times in the NT:
Matthew 14:9 And although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests.
Matthew 17:23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day." And they were deeply grieved.
Matthew 18:31 "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.
Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property.
Matthew 26:22 And being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, "Surely not I, Lord?"
Matthew 26:37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.
Mark 10:22 But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.
Mark 14:19 They began to be grieved and to say to Him one by one, "Surely not I?"
John 16:20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy.
John 21:17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.
Romans 14:15 (note) For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.
2 Corinthians 2:2 For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one whom I made sorrowful?
2 Corinthians 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that you should be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.
2 Corinthians 2:5 But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree-- in order not to say too much-- to all of you.
2 Corinthians 6:10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 7:8 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it-- for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while--9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.
2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.
Ephesians 4:30 (note) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
1Thessalonians 4:13 (note) But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.
1 Peter 1:6 (note) In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials
There are use of lupeo in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) (Gen. 4:5; 45:5; Deut. 15:10; 1 Sam. 29:4; 2 Sam. 13:21; 19:2; 2 Ki. 13:19; Neh. 5:6; Est. 1:12; 2:21; 6:12; Job 31:39; Ps. 55:2; Prov. 25:20; Isa. 8:21; 15:2; 19:10; 32:11; 57:17; Jer. 15:18; Lam. 1:22; Ezek. 16:43; Dan. 6:14, 18; Jon. 4:1, 4, 9; Mic. 6:3)
At Gethsemane as our Lord anticipated Calvary, He
If the trial of Gethsemane was painful to the perfect Man, Christ Jesus, we must understand that to deny that our trials are painful is to make them even worse. Christians must accept the fact that there are difficult experiences in life and not put on a brave front just to appear “more spiritual.”
Paul wrote to the saints at Thessalonica who had lost loved ones not to "not grieve (lupeo), as do the rest who have no hope" (1Th 4:13-note) but to "comfort one another with" the sure hope of future glory to be revealed at Christ's return (1Th 4:18-note).
As Rotherham has commented
Is God bending, shaping, or polishing you right now?
Trials from God (in contrast to trials from Satan) are intended not to provoke us but to prove us and to "improve" us for our good and His glory.
BY VARIOUS TRIALS: en poikilois peirasmois : (See Torrey's Topic "Afflictions Made Beneficial")
Job 5:19 From six troubles He will deliver you, even in seven evil will not touch you.
Poikilos was used to describe the skin of a leopard, the different-colored veining of marble or an embroidered robe and thence passes into the meaning of changeful, diversified, applied to the changing months or the variations of a strain of music.
Poikilos is used 10 times in the NT
Matthew 4:24 And the news about Him went out into all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, taken with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.
Mark 1:34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.
Luke 4:40 And while the sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on every one of them, He was healing them.
2 Timothy 3:6 (note) For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,
Titus 3:3 (note) For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
Hebrews 2:4 (note) God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
Hebrews 13:9 (note) Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.
James 1:2 (note) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
1 Peter 1:6 (note) In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1 Peter 4:10 (note) As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Poikilos is used 18 times in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) (Ge 30:37, 39f; 31:8, 10, 12; 37:3, 23, 32; Jos. 7:21; 1 Chr. 29:2; Ezek. 16:10, 13, 18; 26:16; Zech. 1:8; 6:3, 6). Here is a famous use in the OT…
Poikilos gives a vivid picture of the diversity and varied aspects and appearances of the trials that affect believers, not their number, which is left to be inferred. Peter employs poikilos in (see note "manifold grace of God" - 1Pe 4:10-note) describing the multi-colored grace of God! Praise the Lord!
Barclay - Our troubles may be many-colored, but so is the grace of God; There is no color in the human situation which grace cannot match. There is a grace to match every trial and there is no trial without its grace. (Daily Study Bible)
Barclay - In secular Greek poikilos basically means many-colored. It is frequently so used of natural objects. A leopard skin is said to be poikilos, many-colored. A snake is said to be poikilos; the word describes the iridescent quality of the snake's skin. The plumage of birds is said to be poikilos; the word describes the many-colored sheen of the feathers. Red granite stone is said to be poikilos; the word describes the many-colored glint of the granite as the light strikes upon it. Poikilos goes on to describe, not only natural objects, but things made and manufactured by the hands of men. It means wrought in various colors, cunningly made. So, in describing cloth, it is the opposite of self-colored. It describes a many-colored carpet; it describes a richly embroidered robe of many colors. It describes the cunningly-wrought metal work of an elaborately embossed shield. Poikilos goes a step further. It describes anything which is intricate or complex. So it can describe an elaborately compounded medicine, or a complex and complicated law. From this it goes on to describe a person who is subtle, artful, wily, resourceful to meet any occasion or any emergency. In this sense it can even descend to a rather bad meaning, and it can describe a person who is too clever and too subtle, a person full of tricks and stratagems to further his own ends and to get his own way. It can be seen that in secular Greek poikilos is a vivid and a many-colored word… there is one occasion (of all the NT uses of poikilos) on which Peter, with a touch of sheer genius, uses this word poikilos to describe the grace of God. The AV translates it the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4.10). When we remember what poikilos means, this is a tremendous thought. (i) Poikilos means many-colored; therefore to speak of the grace of God as poikilos means that there is no color in the human situation which the grace of God cannot match. It matters not whether a man is living in the gold of the sunshine of joy or success, or in the somber black of sorrow and pain, there is that in the grace of God which can match his situation. No possible situation can arise in life which the grace of God cannot match and answer. The grace of God is a many-colored thing with that in it which can match and meet every possible situation in life. (ii) Poikilos means artful, clever, resourceful; therefore to speak of the grace of God as poikilos means that no possible problem can arise to which the grace of God cannot supply the solution; no possible task can be laid upon us which the grace of God cannot find a way to do. There is no possible set of circumstances, no possible crisis, emergency or demand through which the grace of God cannot find a way, and which the grace of God cannot triumphantly deal with and overcome. There is nothing in life with which the grace of God cannot cope. This vivid word poikilos leads our thoughts straight to that many-colored grace of God which is indeed sufficient for all things. (New Testament Words)
James also uses poikilos to describe our trials as variegated exhorting the saints to
Guy King gives an interesting illustration of manifold grace from manifold trials (temptations)…
J. C. Ryle exhorts us to "settle it firmly in our minds that there is a meaning, a needs-be and a message from God in every sorrow that falls upon us… There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of affliction… (and be encouraged for) The tools that the great Architect intends to use much are often kept long in the fire, to temper them and fit them for work.
Trials (KJV = temptations) (3986) (peirasmos from peirazo [word study] = to make trial of, try, tempt, prove in either a good or bad sense) describes first the idea of putting to the test and then refers to the tests or pressures that come in order to discover a person’s nature or the quality of some thing.
Think of yourself as a tube of "spiritual toothpaste". Pressures (trials) bring out what's really on the inside! Or as J C Ryle once said "Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees."
Spurgeon explains the great value of his personal trials writing "I am afraid that all the grace that I have got out of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows, and pains, and griefs, is altogether incalculable. What do I not owe to the crucible and the furnace, the bellows that have blown up the coals, and the hand which has thrust me into the heat?… I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days… I can bear my personal testimony that the best piece of furniture that I ever had in the house was a cross. I do not mean a material cross; I mean the cross of affliction and trouble… In shunning a trial we are seeking to avoid a blessing."
Peirasmos - 20x in NAS translated: temptation, 12; testing, 2; trial, 3; trials, 4.
Below are all the NT uses of peirasmos - an excellent exercise would be to meditate on these passages (checking the context) to glean the truths they reveal about tests and temptations. In addition you might study the uses of the verb form, peirazo, noting it's first NT use is in the life of Jesus in Mt 4:1 cp use in Heb 2:18! A very interesting word study!
There are 7 uses of peirasmos in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) (Ex 17:7; Deut. 4:34; 6:16; 7:19; 9:22; 29:3; Ps. 95:8) The first use is very interesting…
Peirasmos connotes trouble or something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy, and happiness in someone’s life. Trials rightly faced are harmless and in fact beneficial to the saint as Peter (and James 1 explain), but wrongly met become temptations to evil as explained below.
The KJV has "temptations" instead of "trials" and this leads to some confusion in the understanding of the Greek word peirasmos. The English word "temptation" originally referred to trials, whether good or bad, but the evil sense has monopolized the word in modern English.
Recommended Resource (related to temptation): Of Temptation by John Owen
Vincent adds that in regard to the meaning of peirasmos it "is a mistake to define this word as only solicitation to evil. It means trial of any kind, without reference to its moral quality."
The context determines whether the intended purpose of the "temptation" is for good or for evil. This distinction is brought out in chapter 1 of James.
James first use of peirasmos refers to "trials for good" (as in 1 Peter1:6), where he exhorted the saints to Consider it (aorist imperative ~ do it now once and for all!) all (wholly) joy ("whole joy", unmixed joy, without admixture of sorrow, not just "some joy" along with much grief! How is this possible? Not naturally, only supernaturally! The Spirit produces His joy in you - Gal 5:22-note), my brethren, when (not "if" - thus when implies temptations are to be expected) you encounter (fall into the midst of so as to be totally surrounded by) various (poikilos - all "shapes and sizes" of) trials (peirasmos), knowing (this is what we are to remember when the trials seem like they overwhelm us) that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:2-3-note).
God brings (allows) such tests (peirasmos) to prove and increase the strength and quality of one’s faith and to demonstrate its validity (read all of James 1:1-27 for full context). Every trial becomes a test of faith designed to strengthen the believer's faith, but if the believer fails the test by wrongly responding, then that test becomes a temptation or a solicitation to evil.
Later James uses the root verb form (peirazo) explaining that no one should "say when he is tempted (peirazo), “I am being tempted (peirazo) by God”; for God cannot be tempted (apeirastos from a = without + peirazo = tempt > incapable of being tempted) by evil, and He Himself does not tempt (peirazo) anyone." (Jas 1:13-note)
Peirazo (and the noun peirasmos) can convey both ideas (for good or evil) because the primary difference is not in the peirasmos itself but in a person’s response to it. If a believer responds in faith, he successfully endures a trial (and we call it just that -- a "trial" and not a "temptation") but if he succumbs to it, doubts God and disobeys, the trial becomes a "temptation" which can lead to sin. God allows "peirasmos" into our life not to make us sin but to make us more like the Savior. Not so with Satan as his encounter with our Lord illustrates.
Matthew records that "Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (verbal root of peirasmos) by the devil. (Mt 4:1)
The temptation was morally neutral -- there was nothing inherently evil in offering Jesus bread. The context however allows us to determine that the purpose of the testing is for evil not good. Satan, the Evil one himself, uses the "neutral" peirasmos for the purpose of inducing Jesus to sin,. When the context in a passage is to induce one to sin, most modern Bible versions translate the test as a "temptation". Remember however that God in His sovereignty is able to take even temptations to evil and cause them "to work together for good to those who love God" (Ro 8:28, 29-see notes Ro 8:28, 29).
When God is the agent, peirasmos is for the purpose of proving someone, never for the purpose of causing him to fall. If it is the devil who tempts even though it is the same Greek word, the purpose is to trip us up.
Webster helps understand the difference between a "trial" from God and a "trial" (temptation) from the devil defining temptation as an enticement to do wrong by promising pleasure or gain.
Temptation can take the form of pleasure in doing something that is forbidden (Adam and Eve yielded to the desire to enjoy forbidden fruit), but it can also entice us to do something to avoid painful consequences. In persecution the devil entices us to give up our faith for fear of suffering ridicule or physical harm of some kind.
The trials Peter refers to may come from God or under His permissive will from Satan, or may be the result of our own wrong doing. An example of a "trial" that in itself is not bad but could turn out bad if one makes the wrong choice is an opportunity to cheat on income tax. What we choose will either prove our righteousness or prove our weakness. The opportunity is only a test, neither good nor evil in itself. Our old Sin nature (or the devil) may tempt us to cheat. Whether it results in good or evil, spiritual growth or spiritual decline, depends on our response. Remember that although God never tempts anyone to sin (James 1:13), He does allow and/or send trials when necessary and in the right measure for strengthening faith.
Like Job we may not recognize them as trials from God or allowed by Him. But our response to them proves our faithfulness or unfaithfulness. How we react to financial difficulty, health trouble, or business setbacks will always test our faith, our reliance on our heavenly Father. If we do not turn to Him, however, the same circumstances can make us bitter instead of better (Ru 1:20, 21 -see notes Ru 1:20; 21) and we can become depressed, resentful, and angry. Rather than (rejoicing &) thanking God for the test (1Th 5:16- [note], 1Th 5:18 [note], Jas 1:2-note; Jas 1:3, Jas 1:4-notes) we may even accuse Him of being an unfair God!
In a sermon titled "Faith Tested and Crowned," Alexander Maclaren distinguished between being tempted and being tried or tested. He said that temptation
In sum, peirasmos refers to all the trials, testing, temptations that go into furnishing a test of one's character. This is the primary meaning here in 1 Peter 1:6.
Peirasmos is used with a similar meaning in chapter 4, Peter writing "Beloved, do not be surprised (present imperative + negative = stop being surprised by the "pop tests"!) at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing (peirasmos), as though some strange thing were happening to you but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. (see note 1 Peter 4:12).
Paul used peirasmos twice in his marvelous words of encouragement to the Corinthians and in principle to all believers that
Peter reminds us that just as God rescued righteous Lot from Sodom, "the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation (trial - peirasmos), and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment." (2Pe 2:9-note)
Spurgeon on trials - We have known full well the trials of life! Thank God we have, for what would any of us be worth, if we had no troubles? Troubles, like files, take away our rust; like furnaces, they consume our dross; like winnowing-fans they drive away the chaff, and we should have had but little value, we should have had but little usefulness, if we had not been made to pass through the furnace. But in all our troubles we have found the character of God a comfort.
James also encourages us to endure our trials with the promise that
John Macarthur has an excellent illustration and explanation of the purpose of "trials" (temptations). He writes
In the ancient world, Christians became the target of persecution for four main reasons:
The theme of suffering runs throughout 1 Peter but so does the theme of glory (1Pe 1:7-8, 21, 24, 4:11, 13, 14, 5:1, 4, 10). One of the encouragements that Peter gives suffering saints is the assurance that their suffering will one day be transformed into glory (1Pe 1:6, 7, 4:13, 14, 5:10-see notes 1 Pe1:6; 1:7; 4:13, 14; 5:10). This is possible only because the Savior suffered for us and then entered into His glory (1Pe 1:11-note; 1Pe 5:11-note). In addition the sufferings of Christ are mentioned often in this letter (1Pe 1:11, 3:18, 4:1, 4:13, 5:1 - see notes 1Pe 1:11; 3:18; 4 :1, 13; 5:1).
Dr. J. H. Jowett once rightly said, "Ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing" so if ministry brings suffering, let us rejoice and be glad for great is our reward in heaven, for by such fruitful sufferings the Father is glorified and we prove to be His genuine, earnest disciples (Mt 5:12-note, Jn 15:8, Mt 5:16-note)
Scripture mentions at least 8 purposes for the Lord's allowing trials to come into believer's lives:
IN SUMMARY TRIALS & AFFLICTIONS…
As everything in SELF is contrary to the life of God, there is a needs-be for manifold trials and temptations to bring us out of those things which are opposed to the grace of God, and to conform us to the image of his dear Son. Thus we need trial after trial, and temptation upon temptation, to cure us of that worldly spirit, that carnality and carelessness, that light, trifling, and empty profession, that outside form of godliness, that spirit of pride and self-righteousness, that resting short of divine teachings, heavenly blessings, and spiritual manifestations, that settling on our lees and being at ease in Zion, that being mixed up with all sorts of professors, that ignorance of the secret of the Lord which is with those who fear him--all which marks of death we see so visibly stamped upon the profession of the day.
There is a needs-be to be brought out of all this false, deceptive, hypocritical, and presumptuous profession, whether high or low, sound in doctrine or unsound, so as to be made simple and sincere, honest and upright, tender and teachable, and to know something experimentally of that broken and contrite spirit in which the Lord himself condescends to dwell. And as the Lord works this spirit of humility and love for the most part through trials and temptations, there is a needs-be for every one, of whatever nature it may be, or from whatever quarter it may come.
Spurgeon comments on testing of our faith:
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Celebrate bankruptcy? How foolish that seems to us! Yet author Leo Buscaglia's mother did just that. Her husband came home one evening and sadly told the family that his business partner had stolen the assets of the firm. Bankruptcy was unavoidable.
Instead of despairing, Leo's mother went out, pawned some jewelry, and prepared a delectable dinner. When family members protested, she replied, "The time for joy is now when we need it most, not next week."
Mrs. Buscaglia's response to her family's financial crisis reminds me of a New Testament directive: "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (James 1:2).
Have you run into difficult circumstances recently? Has some calamity gripped your heart with fear and sorrow? God doesn't want you to wear a hypocritical, smiling face. But He does want you to trust Him through all your circumstances -- including calamities! He wants you to accept failure, sickness, and loss as opportunities for growth in faith and obedience.
Our wise and loving heavenly Father longs for us to submit to His sovereign control. Only as we do that can we agree with James and rejoice even in calamity.-- V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Though times be dark, the struggles grim,
Life's trials should make us better - not bitter.
J H Jowett Devotional
QUOTES ON SUFFERING
Though poor in this world's goods, though grieving the loss of loved ones, though suffering pain of body, though harassed by sin and Satan, though hated and persecuted by worldlings, whatever be the case and lot of the Christian, it is both his privilege and duty to rejoice in the Lord. - A.W. Pink
The tears of Christ are the pity of God. The gentleness of Jesus is the long-suffering of God. The tenderness of Jesus is the love of God. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. - Alexander MacLaren
Christ wrought out His perfect obedience as a man, through temptation, and by suffering. - Alexander MacLaren
Duty does not consist in suffering everything, but in suffering everything for duty. Sometimes, indeed, it is our duty not to suffer. - Alexandre Vinet
There is no mystery in heaven or earth so great as this - a suffering Deity, an almighty Saviour nailed to a Cross.- Sameul M. Zwemer
God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering. - Augustine
Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself. - C.S. Lewis
In Gods case, if He had said in the infinite sovereignty of His absolute will, "I will have no substitute, but each man shall suffer for himself, he who sinneth shall die," none could have murmured. It was grace, and only grace which led the divine mind to say, "I will accept of a substitute. There shall be a vicarious suffering; and My vengeance shall be content, and My mercy shall be gratified." - Charles Spurgeon
When you suffer and lose, that does not mean you are being disobedient to God. In fact, it might mean you're right in the centre of His will. The path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss. - Chuck Swindoll
Joy is love exalted; peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love enduring; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love in school; and temperance is love in training. - D.L. Moody
To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Time is lost when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavor, enjoyment, and suffering. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The work of spirituality is to recognize where we are - the particular circumstances of our lives - to recognize grace and say, "Do you suppose God wants to be with me in a way that does not involve changing my spouse or getting rid of my spouse or my kids, but in changing me, and doing something in my life that maybe I could never experience without this pain and this suffering? - Edmund Clowney
Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering… The love of God did not protect His own Son… He will not necessarily protect us - not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process. - Elisabeth Elliot
We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others. - Elisabeth Elliot
Be indifferent to emotion. If it is there, be thankful; if it is absent, go on doing the will of God, reckoning on Him, speaking well of Him behind His back, and, above all, giving no signs of what you are suffering, lest you be a stumbling block to others. - F.B. Meyer
The church for too long has followed Casper, the friendly ghost instead of seeking the fire of the Holy Spirit. We have turned limp at the thought of our own cross; we faint when we think of suffering or sacrifice. Beloved, it is time to embrace the fire of God's Presence. It is the fire that purifies our sacrifice. - Francis Frangipane
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul; we may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence to, not in an exemption from, suffering. - Francois Fenelon
Romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ's love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ's love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering which Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one. - Frederick Buechner
"Out, damned spot!" That is the true cry of human nature. That stain cannot be removed without blood, and that which is infinitely more, and deeper, and profounder, and more terrible than blood, of which blood is but the symbol - the suffering of Deity. - G. Campbell Morgan
If you and I have taken the place of owning Christ as Lord, we shall be sure to have a little bit of suffering. If He is Lord over me, I must do everything to please Him, and I shall be sure to displease friends. I must give up this thing and not do the other, cost what it may, if He is Master. - G.V. Wigram
Have you known fellowship in suffering with Christ? known deep waters? You will have to go down to them. If you do not get sorrow in fellowship with Christ, you will get it in discipline. - G.V. Wigram
All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming. - Helen Keller
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. - Helen Keller
Suffering is part of the divine idea. - Henry Ward Beecher
The whole extent of hell, the present suffering, the bitter recollection of the past, the hopeless prospect of the future, will never be thoroughly known except by those who go there. - J.C. Ryle
Suffering is the strongest and closest fellowship in the world. - Jack Hyles
The chief secret of comfort lies in not suffering trifles to vex us, and in prudently cultivating an undergrowth of small pleasures, since very few great ones are let on long leases. - James H. Aughey
This is one of the sad conditions of life, that experience is not transmissible. No man will learn from the suffering of another; he must suffer himself. - James H. Aughey
You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy. - John Calvin
The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering and the most comfortable way of dying. - John Flavel
The Lord afflicts us at times; but it is always a thousand times less than we deserve, and much less than many of our fellow-creatures are suffering around us. Let us therefore pray for grace to be humble, thankful, and patient. - John Newton
Preachers must have a passion to produce people whose satisfaction in God is so solid, so deep, and so unshakable that suffering and death - losing everything this world can give - will not make people murmur or curse God, but rest in the promise, "In His presence is fullness of joy, at His right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11). - John Piper
This is God's universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world. - John Piper
A Christian's freedom from anxiety is not due to some guaranteed freedom from trouble, but to the folly of worry and especially to the confidence that God is our Father, that even permitted suffering is within the orbit of His care. - John Stott
These then are the marks of the ideal Church - love, suffering, holiness, sound doctrine, genuineness, evangelism and humility. They are what Christ desires to find in His churches as He walks among them. - John Stott
Humility alone unites patience with love; without which it is impossible to draw profit from suffering; or indeed, to avoid complaint, especially when we think we have given no occasion for what men make us suffer. - John Wesley
The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God. - Joni Eareckson Tada
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We all know people who have been made much meaner and more irritable and more intolerable to live with by suffering: it is not right to say that all suffering perfects. It only perfects one type of person - the one who accepts the call of God in Christ Jesus. - Oswald Chambers
Suffering is the heritage of the bad, of the penitent, and of the Son of God. Each one ends in the cross. The bad thief is crucified, the penitent thief is crucified, and the Son of God is crucified. By these signs we know the widespread heritage of suffering.
- Oswald Chambers
Source: Christian Discipline.
Topics: Suffering, The Cross
To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God's will even if it means suffering is a very different thing. No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God's will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. - Oswald Chambers
Often, we endure trials seeking God's deliverance from them. Suffering is painful for us to endure or to see those we love endure. While our instinct is to flee trials, remember that even in the midst of suffering, God's will is being done. - Paul Chappell
Simply put, I believe suffering is compatible with Gods love if it is medicinal, remedial, and necessary; that is, if we are sick and desperately need a cure. And that's our situation, Jesus said "It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick … I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." - Peter Kreeft
Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God's scheme ultimately leads back to the cross. - Philip Yancey
Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other. - Philip Yancey
We are puzzled and bewildered whenever we see suffering in this world because we have become accustomed to the mercy and the long-suffering of God. Amazing grace is no longer amazing to us. - R. C. Sproul
Your afflictions may only prove that you are more immediately under the Father's hand. There is no time that the patient is such an object of tender interest to the surgeon, as when he is bleeding beneath his knife. So you may be sure if you are suffering from the hand of a reconciled God, that His eye is all the more bent on you. - Robert Murray McCheyne
The purest joy in the world is joy in Christ Jesus. When the Spirit is poured down, His people get very near and clear views of the Lord Jesus. They eat His flesh and drink His blood. They come to a personal cleaving to the Lord. They taste that the Lord is gracious. His blood and righteousness appear infinitely perfect, full, and free to their souls. They sit under His shadow with great delight. They rest in the cleft of the rock. Their defense is the munitions of rocks. They lean on the Beloved. They find infinite strength in Him for the use of their soul - grace for grace - all they can need in any hour of trial and suffering to the very end. - Robert Murray McCheyne
Should pain and suffering, sorrow, and grief, rise up like clouds and overshadow for a time the Sun of Righteousness and hide Him from your view, do not be dismayed, for in the end this cloud of woe will descend in showers of blessing on your head, and the Sun of Righteousness rise upon you to set no more for ever. - Sadhu Sundar Singh
A doctor once told me of a child who could not breathe when it was born. In order to make it breathe doctor gave it a slight blow… he was really doing the kindest thing possible. As with newborn children the lungs are contracted, so are our spiritual lungs. But through suffering God strikes us in love. Then our lungs expand and we can breathe and pray. - Sadhu Sundar Singh
During an earthquake it sometimes happens that fresh springs break out in dry places which water and quicken the land so that plants can grow. In the same way the shattering experiences of suffering can cause the living water to well up in a human heart. - Sadhu Sundar Singh
One day after a long journey, I rested in front of a house. Suddenly a sparrow came towards me blown helplessly by a strong wind. From another direction, an eagle dived to catch the panicky sparrow. Threatened from different directions, the sparrow flew into my lap. By choice, it would not normally do that. However, the little bird was seeking for a refuge from a great danger. Likewise, the violent winds of suffering and trouble blow us into the Lord's protective hands. - Sadhu Sundar Singh
God hasn't completely eliminated suffering from anyone's life. Jesus, who is both God and the perfect, sinless Man, nevertheless suffered as a man on this earth. - T.A. McMahon
For those who have not yet turned to the Lord for His salvation, their condition of suffering often creates compelling opportunities for them to cry out to God for His help. To those who do so in truth, He shows His mercy for their temporal plight and provides grace for their new life in Christ and their eternal destiny. - T.A. McMahon
For the believer in Jesus, every trial of suffering is an opportunity to grow in the faith, to grow in our relationship with the Lord, and to see Him work in our lives in a uniquely personal way that demonstrates His compassion, His comfort, His tender mercies, His loving kindnesses, His grace, and His endless love. Only God knows what each of us needs to experience and learn in order to be "conformed to the image of his Son". - T.A. McMahon
Oh, is the Lord Jesus Christ a believer's life? Why, then, let no believer be disquieted, nor overwhelmed and dejected, for any loss or for any sorrow or suffering that he meets with for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake. Oh, what should a man then do for Jesus Christ, who is his life! - Thomas Brooks
Suffering times are sealing times. The primitive Christians found them so, and the suffering saints in Mary's days found them so. When the furnace is seven times hotter than ordinary, the Spirit of the Lord comes and seals up a man's pardon in his bosom, his peace with God, and his title to heaven. Blessed Bradford looked upon his sufferings as an evidence to him that he was on the right way to heaven. - Thomas Brooks
We are suffering today from a species of Christianity as dry as dust, as cold as ice, as pale as a corpse, and as dead as King Tut. We are suffering not from a lack of correct heads but of consumed hearts. - Vance Havner
Beloved, have you ever thought that someday you will not have anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to learn or to show the spirit of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering. If you are to practice these things, it must be now. - A.B. Simpson
Afflictions are light when compared with what we really deserve. They are light when compared with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps their real lightness is best seen by comparing them with the weight of glory which is awaiting us. - A.W. Pink
We understand and acknowledge that the Resurrection has placed a glorious crown upon all of Christ's sufferings! - A.W. Tozer
If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings. - Adoniram Judson
… I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world? Whether you can consent to see her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of perishing immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair? - Adoniram Judson
The Bible says the fruit of the spirit is longsuffering. I'll tell you one thing about fruit: you will never see a fruit factory. Isn't that right? You see a shirt factory, but you see a fruit orchard. You see, there is no fruit without life. You cannot manufacture patience. The fruit of the Spirit is patience. - Adrian Rogers
Sufferings will be sweet and pleasant to us while we are with Him; and the greatest pleasures will be, without Him, a cruel punishment to us. - Brother Lawrence
The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong light; when we see them in the hand of God, who dispenses them; when we know that it is our loving Father who abases and distresses us; our sufferings will lose their bitterness and become even a matter of consolation. - Brother Lawrence
The Jews were slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken concerning the sufferings of their Messiah; we are slow of heart to believe all that they have spoken concerning His glory. - C.I. Scofield
We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn.' - C.S. Lewis
Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when you wake in the morning look to Him; when thou lie down at night look to Him. Oh! let not your hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you. - Charles Spurgeon
You may suffer and yet be un-Christlike, but no man can be Christlike and fail to suffer. If you ever, by the grace of God, become a partaker of the divine nature you must also inevitably become a partaker of His sufferings. - Clovis G. Chappell
A Christian is someone who shares the sufferings of God in the world. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
That cross inmate of your household, who has hitherto made life a burden to you, and who has been the Juggernaut car to crush your soul into the dust, may henceforth be a glorious chariot to carry you to the heights of heavenly patience and long-suffering. - Hannah Whitall Smith
By friendship you mean the greatest love, the greatest usefulness, the most open communication, the noblest sufferings, the severest truth, the heartiest counsel, and the greatest union of minds of which brave men and women are capable. - Jeremy Taylor
If ever you wish to see how great and horrid and evil sin is, measure it in your thoughts, either by the infinite holiness and excellency of God, who is wronged by it; or by the infinite sufferings of Christ, who died to satisfy for it; and then you will have deeper apprehensions of its enormity. - John Flavel
Oh cursed sin! It was you who slew my dear Lord! For your sake He underwent all this! If your vileness had not been so great, His sufferings had not been so many. Cursed sin! You were the knife which stabbed Him! You the sword which pierced Him! - John Flavel
Faith upholds a Christian under all trials, by assuring him that every painful dispensation is under the direction of his Lord; that chastisements are a token of His love; that the season, measure, and continuance of his sufferings, are appointed by Infinite Wisdom, and designed to work for his everlasting good; and that grace and strength shall be afforded him, according to his need. - John Newton
The readiest way to escape from our sufferings is, to be willing they should endure as long as God pleases. - John Wesley
The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It's enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrows currently assail us aren't worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon.
- Joni Eareckson Tada
Topics: Life, Heaven
Come, and see the victories of the cross. Christ's wounds are thy healings, His agonies thy repose, His conflicts thy conquests, His groans thy songs, His pains thine ease, His shame thy glory, His death thy life, His sufferings thy salvation. - Matthew Henry
If there be anything that can render the soul calm, dissipate its scruples and dispel its fears, sweeten its sufferings by the anointing of love, impart strength to all its actions, and spread abroad the joy of the Holy Spirit in its countenance and words, it is this simple and childlike repose in the arms of God. - S.D. Gordon
Keep God's covenant in your trials; hold you by His blessed word, and sin not; flee anger, wrath, grudging, envying, fretting; forgive a hundred pence to your fellow-servant, because your Lord hath forgiven you ten thousand talents: for, I assure you by the Lord, your adversaries shall get no advantage against you, except you sin, and offend your Lord, in your sufferings. - Samuel Rutherford
Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant, gentle, strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly and never seeking her own; for whosoever a man seeketh his own, there he falleth from love. - Thomas a Kempis
Our sins are debts that none can pay but Christ. It is not our tears, but His blood; it is not our sighs, but His sufferings, that can testify for our sins. Christ must pay all, or we are prisoners forever. - Thomas Brooks
If thou desirest ease, in the first place take care of the ease of thy mind; for that will make all other sufferings easy. But nothing can support a man whose mind is wounded. - Thomas Fuller
To suggest that the merciful, longsuffering, gracious and loving God of the Bible would invent a dreadful doctrine like Calvinism, which would have us believe it is an act of 'grace' to select only certain people for heaven and, by exclusion, others for hell, comes perilously close to blasphemy. - Tim LaHaye
Bid faith look through the key-hole of the promise, and tell thee what it sees there laid up for him that overcomes; bid it listen and tell thee whether it cannot hear the shout of those crowned saints, as of those that are dividing the spoil, and receiving the reward of all their services and sufferings here on earth. - William Gurnall
If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large. - William Wilberforce
Africa, your sufferings have been the theme that has arrested and engaged my heart. Your sufferings no tongue can express, no language impart. - William Wilberforce