This morning, as I was doing some odd chores, I found myself talking to God and asking Him why some people seem to have so many problems. Being a pastor, I hurt when my people hurt and therefore naturally I want to be able to give them comfort and guidance. “What should I tell them?” I asked God. As the morning passed on, I felt led to take a few moments and read the book of 1 Peter. Through reading it I found many of the answers I was searching for and therefore I recommend to anyone who is struggling to read it as well.
Peter was writing to Christians who were suffering and no doubt many of them were asking God ‘why?’ Notice what Peter told them –
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith– of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire– may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
In these two verses Peter helps to answer the question of why God allows us to experience difficulty:
1) To Purify Our Faith
Peter tells us that God often uses trials to purify our faith. Isaiah speaks of this as well – “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10 KJV)
2) To Eventually Bring Praise to Our Faith
According to Peter, there is another very important reason God allows difficulty to enter into our lives. “These (trials) have come so that your faith …may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” James echoes this thought as well. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 NIV)
Notice that James says that those who faithfully endure their difficulties will one day receive the ‘Crown of Life.’ Again we ask, “Is this a literal crown or simply a symbol?” No one will know for sure until we stand before the Lord; yet from what James and Peter teach us, there will one day be a great reward for Christians who continue to praise God, even though they have to suffer.