Transforming Our View of Trying Times

Since the garden, the aim of Satan has been to convince humanity that God is not worthy of the faith that some have placed in Him and further that what they can have without Him is superior to what they enjoy with Him. As is evidenced by the book of Job, one of Satan’s chief tools of persuasion in this effort are the tests and challenges of life.

God is not unaware of Satan's aims and even invites Satan to consider the faithfulness of certain individuals, like Job (Job 1:8; 2:3). When Satan beholds such individuals, he is convinced that they will give up on God if subjected to certain trials. God however is convinced not only that the faithful will endure trials but also that these trials will both strengthen them and their faith. Even at the dawn of God's revelation of Himself to man, Job proved God right by catching glimmers of God's ultimate purpose in Jesus (19:25) and even the value of trials (23:10) without giving up on God.

Peter continues Scripture's discussion of the subject of trials throughout his epistle and notably in 1 Peter 1:6-12. Judged using one metric, the "various trials" Peter's audience presently faced (1 Peter 1:6) and perhaps even the "fiery trial" to come (4:12) could be seen as lesser experiences than what Job endured. There was one key difference though that Satan no doubt hoped to use to his advantage to win these Christians over: whereas Job did not know why He was suffering (e.g. Job 10:2), Peter’s audience knew they were suffering because of the name they wore (1 Peter 4:16).

Prophecy has long been a means of God revealing Himself to man, by which God combines His “spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:13 NASB). These inspired utterances create faith in God by revealing God’s glorious actions toward and purposes for mankind. Peter’s audience had accepted a “prophetic word confirmed” (2 Peter 1:19) through faith. This meant they were chosen by God and were being sanctified by His Spirit (1 Peter 1:2).

Peter knows his audience is going through a trial that is exceptional not only because of its cause – their faith – but because of the response God expected from them: for them to “take it patiently” (1 Peter 2:20), not even reviling or threatening in return (v. 23). However, Peter provides three powerful reasons why they should not only endure these trials and embrace God’s expectations but also rejoice (1:6):
  • the salvation they knew they would enjoy at the end of these trials (vv. 7–9)
  • the oversight of the Lord whom they loved throughout these trials (v. 8)
  • the fact that the prophetic word they had believed to embrace both God’s salvation and 

Jesus was the glorious pinnacle of all of God’s prophetic work (vv. 10-12). Whereas Job had to grope forward in faith, seeing the end and the purpose of his trials only by reasoning from the known to the unknown, Peter knew that the message his audience had received had the potential to allow them, as Paul put it, “to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ” (Colossians 2:2 ESV). Through Christ, they knew what ancient audiences, even angels, had only dreamed of knowing.

So, before Peter said, “gird up the loins of your mind” to encourage them to prepare for what they were facing and would face (1 Peter 1:13), he convinced them that prophecy had not only given them food for thought but a feast for thought. If Job could see even briefly the glory God could work in his future with as little as he knew and still remain faithful, certainly Christians, basking in the full light of revelation, can do the same.

So, do you see trials like God does or as Satan’s wants you to see them? Let what you know change what you see.
-Patrick Swayne






1 Corinthians 12 1 Corinthians 14:15 1 Corinthians 14 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 1 Corinthians 7 1 Peter 1:6-12 1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 3 1 Peter 5:6-7 1 Peter 1 Samuel 4 1 Thessalonians 5:18 1 Timothy 4:1-3 2 Corinthians 6 2 John 1:9 2 John 9 2 Kings 2 Peter 2 2 Peter 3 2 Peter 2 Samuel Abel Abraham Absalom Acts 17 Acts 19 Acts 2 Acts 8 Acts Alcohol Alleged Contradictions Apostles Ark of the Covenant Attitude Authority Autonomy Autumn Balance Baptismal Regeneration Baptism Barnabas Benevolence Bible Contradictions Bible Questions and Answers Bible Study Bible Biblical Interpretation Bishop Body of Christ Borrowing Broad Way Cain and Abel Cain Calvinism Catholicism Catholic Celibacy Challenges Children Christian Living Christmas Church Funds Church Leadership Church Membership Church of Christ Church Circumspection Citations Citizenship Colossians 3:16 Communication Communion Community Confidence Congregations Contend for the Faith Contentment Covetousness Creation Credit Current Events Dating David Debt Forgivness Deconstruction Degrees of Punishment Deity Deliverance Denominationalism Devil Difference Different Discipleship Divine Nature Doctrine Dragon Drinking Easter Ecclesiastes 7:10 Ecclesia Eldership Elders Elder Elijah Elisha Encouragement Enoch Ephesians 2:8-9 Ephesians 5:15 Ephesians 5:16 Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:19 Ephesians 5:5 Ephesians 5 Esther 4:14 Evangelism Ezekiel 36 Ezekiel 6 Faith Alone Faith Only Faithfulness Faith Fall False Teachers False Teaching Fathers Fear Feeding of the 5000 Fornication Free Will Fundamentals Galatians 4:9-10 Gender Roles Generosity Genesis 22 Genesis 4 Genesis Gift of Tongues Gifts Giving Godhead Godhood God Gospel Meeting Gospel Grace Gratitude Greater Sin Greed Grief Grieving Hallelujah Praise Jehovah Hallelujah Hebrews 13:4 Help Hermeneutics Holidays Holy Spirit's Deity Husbands Hymns Hypotheticals Idolatry Imperatives Influence Insomnia Instrumental Music Instruments in Worship Intertextuality Isaac Isaiah 2 Isaiah 6 James 1:19 James 1:27 James 1 James Jehovah Witnesses Jehovah Jerome Jesus Temptation Jesus' Deity Jesus\' Deity Jesus Job John 11 John 19:11 John 4:24 John Calvin John the Baptist Jude 1:11 Jude 3 Jude Judgement Judging Judgment Kindness Lamb of God Lamech Lazarus Leadership Leaven Lemuel Lending Levites Limited Atonement Living Sacrifice Local Church Lord's Supper Luke 1:28 Luke 5:1-11 Mariolatry Mark 1:12-13 Mark Marriage Martin Luther Mary Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 5:3-12 Matthew 5 Matthew 7:13-14 Matthew 7:1 Melchizedek Men's Business Meeting Men\'s Business Meeting Men\\\'s Business Meeting Men Metaphors Minor Prophets Miracles Miraculous Gifts Money Mormonism Mothers Mount of Olives Mountain of the Lord's House Mountains of Israel Mountains Murder Music Mutual Submission Narrow Gate Narrow Way No Elders Non-Denominational Olive Trees Olives Olivet Olive Once Saved Always Saved Parenting Pastor Patience Patriarchs Pattern Paul Peace Pentecostalism Persecution Perseverence Perspective Philippians 3:20 Philippians 4:6 Plagiarism Poetic Language Politics Prayer Praying to Saints Praying Pray Preacher Preaching Priesthood Priests Proverbs 31:6 Proverbs Providence Psalm 148 Quotations Reader Response Redeeming the Time Relationships Relationship Religion Religious Pluralism Religious Syncretism Remission of Sins Restoration Movement Restoration Revelation 12:9 Riches Roman Catholic Church Romans 12:1-8 Romans 12:10 Romans 12:15 Romans 12:1 Romans 12 Sacrifice Saints Only Salvation Satan Scarecrows Sermon on the Mount Serving Others Sexual Sin Silence of the Scriptures Singing Sin Sleep Sobriety Song Studies Sons Sovereignty of God Spending Spirit and Truth Spiritual Death Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Leadership Stephen Straight Gate Stress Student Debt Submission Suffering Temptations Thankfulness The Beatitudes The Problem of Pain and Suffering The Problem of Suffering The Way of Cain The Way Tongue Speaking Total Hereditary Depravity Tradition Trials Trinity Types and Antitypes Uncleanness Unconditional Election Understanding Unity Unknown Tongue Vulgate Wealth Wide Gate William Kirkpatrick Wives Women in the Church Women's Roles Word Study Work Worship Zechariah clergy death sickness