Monday October 21

You have been grieved by various trials. 1 Peter 1:6

The manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10

Embracing Our Trials Through God’s Grace

“You have been grieved by various trials.” No one who lives on this earth can escape this experience. Some trials are brief, redirecting our attention to some unwanted interruption for the day. Other trials gouge themselves deeply into our lives, leaving scars that never really fade. Moses, the man of God, declared that even one who lives longer than most can only boast of labor and sorrow (Ps. 90:10). David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, cried, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? … How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?” (Ps. 13:1-2). Our own poets portray our lives as but poor players that strut and fret their time upon the stage and then are heard no more. The grief of our various trials is real, and their diversity means that we often feel as if no one can truly understand our private pain.

But the Scriptures say elsewhere, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (Jas. 1:2). The Christian answer to suffering is not to extinguish our feelings, as some religions and philosophies teach. Rather, we acknowledge the reality of our suffering while embracing the knowledge that God can do something with us and for us as we pass through those trials. And we affirm that this is so because of “the manifold grace of God.” The word translated here as “manifold” refers to a diverse variety, the way a picture contains a variety of colors. What is beautiful is that it is the same word used for our “various” trials.

When there seems to be no end to the variety of our trials, we find that there is no end to the variety of God’s grace. No trial is so deep that God’s goodness cannot find us there. No trouble is so unique that God cannot match it with some supply from the endless storehouse of His grace.

Stephen Campbell