Grieved By Trials

If you are a Christian and you’ve suffered significantly, then you know what it’s like to ruminate on that question. Yes, the one that hangs on a permanent nail near the door to your heart. 

God, why did you let that happen? 

Or maybe it is more like…

God, are you even there? And if you are, could you take a look at what’s happening to me right now?

When I was reading through some of 1 Peter a few days a word jumped out at me that I had not noticed before. 

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…

Grieved. It’s in the English Standard Version. Other translations use words like suffer and distressed and struggle. But the ESV uses the term that has found such a place in my life. Grieved. Grief is a term of sorrow, loss, even bereavement. We can experience grief at the loss of a loved one, but also by the loss of important things, pets, relationships, or even our health. There are various things that can cause us grief.

The first readers of Peter’s letter were in extreme circumstances, having lost homes and jobs, forced into a dispersion throughout the known world due to persecution. They did what they were supposed to do – what we still try to encourage people to do today. They gave their life to Christ! Does anyone doubt that in the quietest part of the night someone didn’t contemplate…

God, why did you let that happen? God, are you even there? And if you are, could you take a look at what’s happening to me right now?

When we lost our son many people said to us, “I don’t know what to say.” I could relate. I didn’t know what to say either. I’m sure if I knew the depth of your grief and sorrow, disappointment and heartache, abuse and recovery, I wouldn’t know what to say. But Peter does have something to say. An encouragement for us to think about what we are becoming through the crucible of our troubles.

…So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I wouldn’t go around quoting this to hurting people. But if you will hang on to Jesus, when you are a sufficient distance from your loss you will be able to look back and see the extreme value of your faith. In your sorrow you found out that it wasn’t just words or nice ideas. Faith became for you more precious than gold. By not letting go of God when the trials were at their hottest … causing enormous grief … you find out your faith is genuine.

Oh, it gets ragged. Sometimes you might not even think it’s there. You’re not alone in your dark night of the soul. If it were all up to you it wouldn’t be. But it’s not all up to you.  God is near and He’s not letting a single tear go to waste.

God, why did you let that happen? God, are you even there? And if you are, could you take a look at what’s happening to me right now?

So, it’s no secret. The Apostle Peter wrote it down to believers who were scattered by persecution throughout the known world. Having lost everything that resembled security and hope he acknowledged the grief that they were experiencing due to losses. Then he encouraged them that their trials were giving wealth and value to their faith.

I doubt they could see it any clearer than we can. But faith keeps our eyes to a coming day when Jesus will be revealed. At that time I believe we will know fully how God took the worst thing that ever happened to us and made it the most powerful thing that ever happened to us. So don’t give up when various kinds of trials grieve your heart.

Questions for Contemplation

*If you’ve blamed God for your various trials, have you ever considered that there is an Enemy who can bring trials as well?

*When Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed was acceptable to Him, do you think he had in mind times when our faith would be barely there?

*If I have a friend who is going through various trials that have brought grief, how can I best be a blessing to them … without words?

*How do I feel about having questions for God about my trials and at the same time having faith that He alone can answer them?

*It’s hard for us to have perspective in the midst of our trials. Have I sought out the perspective of some person of faith who has been through the same thing some time ago? 

*Remember that you are not alone in your grief and struggles. What persons in the Bible can we find who went through the same kind of pain and how did they respond? What did they write about it? Maybe those stories and words are preserved for us so we would know we were not alone.

Thanks for reading. JD





  1. John, thanks for you and Maggie living life out loud for Christ our Savior! Thank you for bringing out the ESV “grieved” part in 1 Peter. God bless you both as you serve the risen Savior. Don’t give up and never stop praying.

  2. John,

    Love this. Thanks for your wisdom, insight, sensitive words, and faith. You help so many others. Love you and hope to be able to spend some time with you someday – If not here, then perhaps we will have time in another place – plenty of time

  3. Thank you David … I admire your ministry so much… so your words bless me indeed. Bless you.

  4. Thank you Jo … Hope you and Hugh are doing well in your new place … appreciate your leadership in prayer ministry.

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