1. When you encounter trials, how might Jesus’ resurrection make a difference in your experience of these difficulties and what results from these trials?
Have you ever had a game (or maybe even a season) in which it seemed like everything that could go wrong does go wrong? It’s tempting in situations like that to ask, “Why me? Why do I have to go through this?” When we face difficulties and trials, whether in sports or other areas of life, it’s natural to want to know why this is happening to us. Maybe you’re currently in this place as you struggle with how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your sport and your life.
God in his perfect wisdom may not always provide the detailed answers we’re looking for, but in the Bible he does speak to the “why” behind trials. And Jesus’ resurrection is right at the center of why we don’t have to remain mired in a “why me?” place.
Read 1 Peter 1:3-9
This passages tells us that because of Jesus’ resurrection, we can be “born again” or “given new birth” when we place our faith in Christ. This means Jesus rescues us from being eternally dead because of our sins and gives us new and eternal life – his resurrection life. And because of Jesus’ resurrection, we now have a “living hope.” As the New Living Translation puts it, “Now we live with great expectation.”
Hope is the confident expectation that God is working and he will fulfill his promises, even though we don’t yet fully see it. Jesus through his resurrection triumphed over death, the penalty for our sin, and the opposition of the evil one – so when he promises that we will also experience this victory through our faith in him, we can fully trust what he says. We’re filled with hope for the future no matter what’s happening in the present.
#2. According to 1 Peter 1:3-9, why does the hope we have in Christ because of his resurrection make a difference for our lives? What does this mean for our present circumstances as well as our future?
There’s a huge difference between coaching or playing on a team that has abundant hope for future success versus a team that has little hope for future success. When your team has genuine hope that you can have a successful season and possibly win a championship, you’re much more able to handle adversity along the way. Without this hope, adversity can derail a team.
When we’re on Christ’s team, Jesus’ resurrection gives us an ironclad reason for abundant hope. This makes all the difference when you encounter the adversity of trials. According to 1 Peter 1:6-7, now you can recognize that God uses trials to demonstrate how much you matter personally to him. He not only has a glorious future for you (v. 4), he wants you to grow and thrive in your faith in the present. Trials have a way of motivating you to depend upon the Lord more fully, growing closer to him. This leads to an even deeper experience of God’s love for you and the joy you have in him (v. 8).
Because you matter so much to God, he uses trials to accomplish this purpose of growing your faith in him. In addition, Jesus’ resurrection assures you God will give you everything you need to persevere through trials. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the power by which God protects you and enables you to hold fast to him as trials come.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic and possibly other things in life, maybe it feels like you’re in a season in which everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Refocus on this: Jesus rose from the dead, giving you a living, unshakeable hope. God loves you and he’s at work in the midst of even the most difficult trials. Let Christ’s resurrection fuel deeper trust in him.
3. What specific trials are you currently encountering? Ask the Lord to help you be responsive to his work of refining and deepening your faith as you walk through these trials. Pray for greater confidence and joy in him.
1 Peter 1:6-7 –
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.