In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuine-ness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
This first letter of Peter was written to believers who were suffering persecution under Nero’s reign. They were going through a tough time, and what they were facing was not pretty. But surprisingly, Peter told the Christians not to be surprised by their trials, and not to allow their trials to cause them to doubt God’s faithfulness, but rather to be glad for them. Glad for trials! What a strange concept. Yet Peter knew that if our faith is to endure to the end of our life-long pilgrimage, it must be stress-tested and purified, by the hardships God allows to come our way. Faith you see, does not increase by accident, but it takes time and intentionality. And the picture Peter paints here is of an ancient goldsmith, who puts his crude gold ore into a crucible, subjecting it to intense heat, and liquifying the mass, thereby allowing the impurities to rise to the surface and be skimmed off.
And so it is with God and His child. He puts us in the crucible of suffering and trial and testing, so that our faith can be purified from the slag of unbelief that so often mingles with it. God is looking for us to have a faith that can stand the test of hot trials. He is looking for our faith to shine from the fire. He is looking for a faith that will not be reduced to ashes by the heat of affliction. He is looking for a faith that will endure, even when gold will at last vanish. He is looking for a faith that holds on to the promise that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).
“Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5)