A Sermon Illustration by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
1 Peter 1:6 – In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials
When confronted with a verse like this, I often sit back, pray, and digest the text. Rejoicing in the midst of trials is foreign to many, if not all those, outside of the living Hope of Christ, making it unfathomable to understand this verse. On the other hand, many believers have just as difficult of a time grasping the fact that we can rejoice during every trial that we encounter during our earthly ministry. It is a foundational truth that the believer always has something to rejoice in, for we, no matter what, will never be cast out. That truth alone is worthy of continual praise towards the Lord. For me, this became a reality during the time when my mother was sick and eventually went home to be with the Lord. This time drew me to my knees begging to see the Lord work in this. On the one hand, I was grieved by the condition of my mother, and on the other hand, I rejoiced in the teachings of the Scripture. During this trial, my brother-in-law pointed me to this verse, Ecclesiastes 7:14 – “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.” This verse brought me to 1 Peter 1:6 and brought me great comfort and joy during a trial that many cannot endure.
Have you ever considered the truth of Ecclesiastes 7:14 in the light of 1 Peter 1:6? Rejoice in the times of joy and rejoice during the various trials of this life! Paul says it best in Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.”
So, I ask the question; Can a Christian rejoice while in Heaviness? The answer is YES! Why? The “why” is answered in a Sermon given by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, on Sunday Morning, November 7th, 1858. I have included a small excerpt from that sermon and a link to its entirety here:
Now, the Christian is like that. On the surface there is a stream of heaviness rolling with dark waves; but down in the depths, there is a strong undercurrent of great rejoicing that is always flowing there.
Can a Christian greatly rejoice while he is in heaviness? Yes, most assuredly he can. Mariners tell us that there are some parts of the sea where there is a strong current upon the surface going one way, but that down in the depths there is a strong current running the other way. Two seas do not meet and interfere with one another; but one stream of water on the surface is running in one direction, and another below in an opposite direction. Now, the Christian is like that. On the surface there is a stream of heaviness rolling with dark waves; but down in the depths, there is a strong undercurrent of great rejoicing that is always flowing there. Do you ask me what is the cause of this great rejoicing? The apostle tells us, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice.” What does he mean? You must refer to his own writings, and then you will see. He is writing “to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus,” and so forth. The first thing that he say’s to them is, that they are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God;” “wherein we greatly rejoice.” Ah! even when the Christian is most “in heaviness through manifold temptations,” what a mercy it is that he can know that he is still elect of God! Any man who is assured that God has “chosen him from before the foundation of the world,” may well say, “Wherein we greatly rejoice.”