“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith . . . may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”- 1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)
As Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 12 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, he states that the Biblical exhortation to “rejoice in suffering” should not be conceived of in purely subjective, emotional terms. Rejoicing can’t be strictly interpreted as having happy emotions, nor can it mean to keep a stiff upper lip. Pastor Keller states: “Suffering creates inner sorrow, it does make you weak.”
Commenting on 1 Peter 1:6-7, Pastor Keller explains that the Greek word for suffer (grieved in the ESV) is a form of lupeo, meaning “severe mental or emotional distress”. This word was used of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The author adds that Peter does not pit rejoicing against pain and suffering. We must rejoice inside our suffering if we are to grow, rather than expecting the Lord to remove our sorrow and replace it with happiness. Pastor Keller describes how the joy of the Lord happens inside the sorrow:
“The weeping drives you into the joy, it enhances the joy, and then joy enables you to actually feel your grief without its sinking you.”
Today’s question: How might seeking joy inside the sorrow ease your desert, land between time? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “In God we (mis)trust”