1 Peter 1:6 (ESV)
In this [salvation] you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.
How can we rejoice even in suffering?
“Today (April 15th) there are more known cases of COVID-19 in the United States than any other country.” To this day there are at least 606,800 patients infected with the virus and 25,922 patients with the virus have died,” reports The Cut.com, a New York City online magazine. A lot of people have reason to be suffering. When Peter writes his first letter he writes of people rejoicing though some of his readers have been suffering. It is hard to imagine anyone could be rejoicing while surrounded by infections and death, subjected to shelter-in-place and stay-at-home. A reader really must dig deep in this passage to get Peter’s point. Peter expects Christians to rejoice no matter the situation. The reason for rejoicing is that we have salvation, and it is the promise of our future. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary (1871) helps us. J-F-B offers, “The realized joy of the coming salvation makes the present grief seem like a thing of he past.” The commentary went on to recognize that we are grieved at the first realization of an affliction (COVID-19), but by the anticipation of salvation we rejoice. It is our faith that brings about rejoicing. Imagine the day a successful vaccine is announced. Consider the rejoicing. Some of the people celebrating may be sick and grieving, but the belief that a vaccine is coming will make all the difference in the world. The vaccine will be their salvation, and their grief over the infection will be a thing of the past. This is what Christian salvation can do to all our grief. How can we rejoice even in suffering? Because we have faith.
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” ― Tom Bodett