Updated: Sep 6, 2021
In his letter, where Peter praises God for our hope in Christ, he invites us to penetrate into the essence of trials:
Rejoice about this, having grieved now a little, if necessary, from various temptations, so that your tried faith may turn out to be more precious than gold that is perishing, although tested by fire, to praise and honor and glory in the appearance of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1: 6-7)
Although Peter writes this primarily to a group of Christians in persecution, the principle he gives has universal application. In fact, we will all "get thrashed." I have not known a single person who would have gone through life without pain, difficulties and hardships.
I have met people who have developed all kinds of ideas and models for a victorious Christian life. I have met people who have adhered to a positive confession that says, "If you just follow this approach, declare these statements, study these teachings, you will truly become a spiritual superman who can deal with problems in one fell swoop."
But my experience over the years - I've looked at these approaches, studied the Scriptures, and checked the evidence of what's really going on in the world - has shown that everyone "gets thrashed." Everyone has problems in their personal life, in their families or at work. It doesn't matter how positive they are or how much attention they pay to teachings or statements.
In fact, it is my belief that God not only allows such trials to come our way, but from time to time He even sends us difficulties as part of our strengthening and cleansing process. Blessings alone will not bear the fruit He expects. He has to send some trials to achieve His goals in our lives. Often it is precisely those difficulties and trials that cause the most complete surrender to God. Often it is pain that makes us want (even thirsty!) To learn, change, and grow.
Thus, on the one hand, we are on a long journey to the promised land, the fullness of life in the kingdom of heaven. But at the same time, when God is concerned with the issue of our coming to heaven, He is also concerned with the fact that heaven should enter into us.
Peter teaches that we grow in Christian character through the trials that adverse circumstances bring into our lives. We are cleansed: clean in our thoughts, attitudes and ministry. We are strengthened in faith. All in order to fulfill Christ's purpose of creating new men and women to reflect His chara