“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 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, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9
If you look at the lives of the apostles and writers of the New Testament, you will see lives filled with rejoicing. They knew how to rejoice always...but it’s not because God gave them perfect, easy lives. They were flogged, and yet “they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). They experienced opposition for their preaching, and yet “the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Paul was chained to a Roman soldier, experiencing much persecution for the gospel message he was preaching, and yet he wrote, “But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all” (Philippians 2:17).
How can we rejoice always like they did? By founding our joy in the same solid place as they did: Christ. While Peter calls the persecuted believers to rejoice in their suffering, he frames that call between their great hope in Christ. We are able to rejoice without ceasing when we take our eyes off this world, off it’s present suffering, off it’s present pain, and lock them on Christ and our promise in him.
Rejoicing at times may be through tears because this world is filled with briars and thorns. But we can still rejoice as we consider the hope we have in Christ alone.
Thank you, God, for the joyous future hope I have in you. Thank you for showing mercy to a sinner such as I and granting eternal life. Thank you for the security of my hope in you. Please help me to cling to this hope today and in the days ahead as I face difficulty, fear, pain, and trials. Help me to rejoice, even if it is through tears, in you.
Begin committing 1 Peter 1:3-9 to memory to remind yourself of the great hope you have even in the middle of your present suffering.