“In this [salvation] you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials”
1 PETER 1:6
It is a wonderful thing that our God knows what we need. And there will be a time when we may need to go through a trial, and God will provide one. He is not doing this because He is mean, but because He is good. Trials always have the purpose of confronting us with the reality about ourselves. What our reality is depends on whether we would like to see it or not. For a disciple the reality that God wants us to live in is a reality of true faith in Jesus Christ. Peter wrote these words in his letter from out of his own experiences and trials. We’re going to look at those experiences now and see what God wants to say to us.
Jesus has just fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish.
“Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home.” —Mark 6 v. 45 (NLT)
Did you notice anything strange in this verse about the relationship between the disciples and the Lord Jesus? Wouldn’t it normally be that a disciple would gladly surrender his life to the authority of Jesus, and be willing to do everything He says? The fact that Jesus had to constrain/insist that the disciples (Peter was one of them) enter the boat shows that something wrong had happened in the relationship between them and their Master.
“And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea…Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” —Mark 6 v. 46-52 (NKJV)
Their hearts were hardened. If this is what has happened to my heart, it is a wonderful thing if the Lord will quickly bring me into circumstances where I will have an opportunity to see it, and by acknowledging it I can allow Him to heal the hard heart of mine and restore it to a heart that believes all things.
Although Jesus sent them on their own He didn’t abandon them. He went up on the mountain to pray, and I believe He was praying for them. As they are straining in rowing He is watching them all the time and waiting for the right time to come to them.
This word straining is a word that can be used to describe the process of testing the authenticity of gold or silver by rubbing it against a special rock. It wasn’t just wind and waves. God was using these to test the genuineness of their faith, or rather lack of it due to the hardening of their hearts.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”. —1 Peter 1:7
Jesus is the same. What He did to them will do to us. Let’s pause in life and let’s have another look at the difficult circumstances in our lives that perhaps the Lord constrained us into. Let’s look at them as an opportunity for Jesus to confront us with the reality of our relationship with Him and as we’re toiling through them being tested, let’s wait in hope, knowing that He is praying for us and is waiting to come to us while we are in the middle of stormy sea.