In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 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.
Look at that little clause: if necessary. Peter is saying that suffering only happens if it’s necessary. Necessary? Trials are necessary? Pain is necessary? Necessary for what? Who decides if it’s necessary?
Yes, God– in his infinite and perfect wisdom, deems how much suffering we need to go through. And he is not wrong. He decides flawlessly.
O, There is so much hope in those two little words! First, we see that every single ounce of suffering is necessary to maximize God’s glory and our good. Second, we see that God will never put us through unnecessary suffering. What reason to rejoice! God has allotted for us the perfect amount of pain in this life– not too much, and not too little– in order to shape us toward Christ-likeness. When you’re suffering, know this: it’s necessary!
Sometimes languishing Christians don’t respond well to other Christians trying to encourage them with the truth of God’s good use of trials in their life. They respond “I already know that!” or “I already learned that lesson!” Here, God says, if you’re suffering, there’s yet a lesson to be learned. None of us have arrived, and therefore, none of us are exempt from the seminary of suffering.
So when you’re suffering, be thankful that God is giving you what you need for Christ-likeness. And seek to understand what God is teaching you.
Let none of us despise the discipline of God, for
“the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:12