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God loves us and wants us to be happy! That’s plain to tell from 1 Peter chapter one. In the opening verses Peter writes of the sanctifying work of the Spirit, grace and peace in abundance, great mercy, the new birth, resurrection of Jesus and being shielded by God’s power. Then he writes that in “all this you greatly rejoice.” In verse eight he says that “you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy and the salvation of our souls. Sounds like a lot of good things to be happy about. Kind of like a little flower garden that is blooming profusely.

But there are always weeds to contend with. After Peter exclaims the blessings of God, he mentions that life is not all pretty colors and nice fragrances. He says, “though now, for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”

Someone may ask, rightly so, “If God loves us so much and wants us to be happy, why do some of us have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials?”

The answer is so that we will be happier in the long run than we would otherwise be. Peter says the grief and trials come to prove the genuineness of our faith. Our faith is proven valid and strengthened through the hard times, frustrations, disappointments, and problems that we encounter along life’s merry (or not so merry) way. Peter assures us that when we come out the other end of our dark tunnel, that we will receive praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

My family and I are in Colorado for a couple weeks visiting my dad and sister’s family. We went out to Sterling Reservoir yesterday for a picnic and ride on my dad’s old boat. My dad and I got the boat on the lake and were just starting to enjoy the ride, when a boat alarm came on. The water pump had failed and we had to head back to shore, disappointed. My daughters had been looking forward to a fun trip around the lake on Grandpa’s boat, but it was not to be. They too were disappointed.

When something happens that doesn’t go along with my plans, I try to replace my negative thoughts with God thoughts. I have to remind myself that God loves me and wants me to be happy, and his plans for me are always better than my plans for me. So I try to change grumbling for praising. It doesn’t always work however, so then…

I think about how things could be worse. For instance, I thought of my father-in-law who lost his wife about a month ago, his brother about a year ago. His son has down syndrome and he will be responsible for caring for him the rest of his life, without the help of his wife, who had been the major caretaker. On top of all that, he has had knee problems for the last few years and it has gotten progressively worse. Recently he began using canes to walk.

Not being able to go on a boat ride hardly compares.

I think that is the main message Peter is trying to get across to believers. You are all probably going to go through some tough times when things aren’t going the way you expected them to go. What to do? Well, you can choose to focus on the bad things and worry, fret or complain, Or, you can focus on God’s abundant grace and mercy; Jesus’ resurrection and our inheritance waiting for us in heaven; our sure hope in God’s promises and his peace that surpasses all understanding, while being shielded by his power and looking forward to our ultimate salvation.

Doesn’t hardly seem to compare, does it?

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“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

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