“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
My son always asks me, “Ma, why is life so hard?” and I’ll reply, “Boy, you now born.” Mind you, he’s only nineteen years old, but he says becoming an adult is hard. Too many responsibilities, he says, and he wished he could go back to primary school. Some of his responsibilities include putting out the garbage, washing the vegetables his father brings home from the market and cleaning my car when I get home from work. Then he has school on afternoons three times a week. And a job Monday to Saturday in a car repair shop. He also has trouble finding a decent girlfriend.
While I don’t want to trivialize his teenage challenges, I tell him as he gets older, life will only get harder, and he’ll have to get used to it. I don’t know if that’s good parental advice. But I do know how hard life is, and I know he has not even begun to experience real hardship.
Hardship Strengthens Our Faith
Peter wrote this Epistle to persecuted Christians scattered around Asia Minor. These Christians were experiencing hardship and wondered if God had abandoned them. Peter sought to encourage them by telling them their trials prove their faith is genuine, and their faith is being tested as fire tests and refines gold (verse 7, NLT). In other words, hardship help to strengthen their faith. God allows the difficulties in life to make us stronger, and He promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Being Born Again Means New Life in Jesus
The word translated “new birth” in 1 Peter 1:3 is anagennaō which not only means to be “born again” but to “change one’s mind so that he lives a new life conformed to the will of God” (Strong’s Lexicon). This new birth comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, we were slaves to sin, and sin brings forth death (Romans 6:23). But God, in His love and mercy, sent Jesus to die for us. To free us from sin and give us eternal life (John 3:16).
Jesus’ death broke the power of sin. Now he lives for the glory of God, and through him, so do we (Romans 6:10-11). When we believe in Jesus, we become one with him in his death. Just as he rose, we also will be raised just like him unto eternal life. So as believers, we no longer live for this world. Being born again means we have a new life in Jesus, a fresh start, a whole new identity.
This World is Only Temporary
What gives us hope is that the world and everything that is happening in it—the injustices and chaos—are only temporary. When I hear about children suffering or dying from abuse and neglect, I take comfort in knowing their deaths are not permanent. One day Jesus will return and make things right. The world as we know it now will be no more. It will be replaced with a new world where everyone will be happy and at peace (Revelation 21:4, NLT).
Be Glad in Hardship
Here’s what Peter also said about hardship:
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
I may not be able to protect my children from life’s difficulties. But what I can do is teach them about Jesus and encourage them to become believers so they too can look forward with confident expectation to a new birth and fresh start in the coming kingdom.
God, thank you for sending Jesus so I can live eternally with you. I no longer fear death because I know I have eternal life. In the meantime, when life becomes hard, I can turn to you because you love me and promised to never leave me nor forsake me. Please fill me with your peace because I hope and trust in you. Use me as a light to show your grace and mercy to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Used with permission from Lisa Marcelina Granger.