Wherein we rejoice
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations. 1 Peter 1:6
In what did these elect exiles rejoice? Indeed, it seems strange that they were able to rejoice at all when they were "in heaviness through manifold temptations"? Note: it was not just a few trials, but many trials: trials and temptations that caused heaviness and grief. These were crushing afflictions and griefs. And yet, these believers rejoiced. How?
The key is found in the focus of their joy. I think perhaps we tend to lose our joy because we are not looking for joy in the right place. We seek it in the comforts of this life, in the approval of men, in the success of our efforts. But that is not where the saints to whom Peter was writing found their joy. No. For them, it was in the "inheritance" that is "incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" (ver. 4). That is the key for you and me as well. If you are going through hard times and have lost your joy, you must learn to fetch it from heaven.
But, we might reasonably ask, how does looking to heaven give you joy, especially when it can't take away the present pain? For heaven is future. How can the future give me joy in the present?
Well, it can do so for at least two reasons. One reason is the magnitude of the mercy of heaven. It is an inheritance that in incorruptible and undefiled and unfading. We can know that no matter how painful the suffering now, it cannot compare to the glory which will be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). Another reason is the surety of the blessing of heaven. We know it's sure and that our present sufferings cannot dent or take away our hope in heaven. It is "reserved in heaven for you." We know that our sufferings cannot take away this future joy. We know that suffering is but for a night and joy comes in the Morning. Heaven is the reason we can always say, "Yet will I praise him" (Ps. 42:5).
Brothers and sisters, let us look to heaven. For there is our hope, and from there we draw our joy from the well of God's good and gracious salvation. To be there is to be with Christ, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8).