Here’s another excerpt from my devotional book: Living Lessons on Intimacy with Christ
“In this you greatly rejoice even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 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 1:6-9
Peter has told us in these verses that we can greatly rejoice in a very powerful salvation that even overcomes the sting of difficult circumstances. Through Jesus’ love and sacrifice we receive a brand new life full of hope. Our new life and all that comes with it after we die cannot be destroyed even by trials.
Trials cause us distress. When we avoid the pain that comes with trials and sorrows, it blocks us from getting to know Jesus intimately because we substitute other things such as food, sex, substances and relationships to dull the pain. On the other hand, when we turn toward Jesus, talk to Him and look to Him for comfort in distressing circumstances, Paul says this will result in faith that is more precious than gold.
Gold is not found in the form of necklaces and rings, it is a rather ugly lump that has to undergo extreme heat in order to be beautiful and useful. What we gain from believing and trusting Jesus during hard times is like refined gold—something that is beautiful, something that lasts, something that is priceless and worth greatly rejoicing over.
We all know that there are degrees of painful circumstances and with some the smelting heat of the pain is more difficult to bear. Losing loved ones, losing our dreams, losing our homes all take longer to get over than “everyday” difficulties. Saying the truth to ourselves does not always take away that kind of heavy pain. At these times when the pain does not go away easily, we have to cry out and talk to Jesus even more, trusting that His promises are true while waiting on His timing and His comfort. In my life, I have trusted Jesus during heavy pain by talking to Him, by journaling and by surrounding myself with close people who bring me joy. When able, I do something fun or spend time with someone who lifts me up in a positive way. I practice turning my mind to things I appreciate. Even when the truth does not take away my pain, I keep saying it to myself and believing it against what I feel. I need support from others to help me keep my eyes on Jesus until I find the “joy inexpressible and full of glory” that Peter says here is true.
Application: Right now you may be going through a difficulty or even a very painful circumstance that is very hard to bear. Even though you cannot see Jesus, cry out to Him and talk to Him about what you are feeling. He is always glad to be with you and He wants you to know His presence even if the pain does not go away for a while. Like gold being refined, if you keep turning to Jesus, I can assure you that your pain will bring you the intimacy that makes for “inexpressible joy.”
 For more on “Truth does not always take away the pain,” see the blog by that name, November 2010.