1 Peter 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 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. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
So why do we suffer? We suffer in the trials of our faith. Why do we have these trials? That our faith may be proved genuine and our lives lived by faith may bring glory and honor and praise to the Lord. I'm afraid that we American Christians have become too focused on our own pleasures rather than seeking and seeing God's Kingdom come in our own lives and in the lives of others around us. God is not primarily as concerned about our comfort as He is in our conforming to His likeness, the very image in which we were created. And as we truly yield to His conforming, only then do we really experience what is genuine in His goodness and only then do we experience the full pleasure for which we are created. Only in a challenge can we exhibit our faith. But faith is designed for challenges, for trials. And as we operate in faith, we see it works. It does not fail. Our faith is not in just anything; it is not ambiguous. Our faith is in God. What greater resting place can we find? And that is what it becomes, a resting place, something on which and to which we can entrust our lives. In Him we live and move and have our being.
Yes, we do suffer. Our flesh does not want to be changed. But look at the change--from glory to glory. We are moving out of our fallen state and are instead moving into, becoming, learning to live as His children. Our faith is proved genuine. As we walk by faith, we are entering into and living in the salvation Christ Jesus so graciously gives. Our faith enables us to overcome every trial we walk through. In the Revelation churches, a promise is given to him who overcomes. We overcome because Christ overcame. And He calls us to come, follow Him. Where will it lead us? To the salvation of our souls, to the inheritance than can never perish, spoil or fade. It is our living hope, not a hope so, maybe so, but a solid hope of knowing so as we look toward the goal. God Himself is at work in us bringing it forth as we yield to Him.