1 Pet 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
Last July 10th I had open-heart surgery. The thing which I admit caught me by surprise and amazed me through the whole procedure and recovery was the incredible joy which permeated the whole experience. Even though I have talked with many people over the years who have related how they experienced great joy in the midst of trials and suffering, I was amazed when I experienced it for myself.
This passage in Peter is in the context of a living hope which we have through the resurrection of Christ, the inheritance which is being kept in heaven for us, and the knowledge that God uses even the most terrible circumstances to increase our faith, perfect our character, and give us hope. Nothing that the world or the devil throws at us has any comparison with the glories of the Kingdom of God which has been promised to us and reserved for us in heaven.
Any suffering which we have here on earth is nothing compared to the joy set before us. The reason that Christ endured the cross is that He knew what was waiting for Him on the other side of His suffering. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a man who found a great treasure in a field and in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field (Mat 13:44). The man who found the treasure knew that whatever he owned now is nothing compared with the treasure which he knew awaited him once he bought that field.
When we contemplate the incredible riches that are ours in Christ Jesus, we cannot help but be filled with joy. We don’t have to earn our salvation. All the spiritual blessings are ours. We are children of the King. We have an eternal inheritance. We will reign with Jesus forever. We are Christ’s treasured possession, His bride. When we really understand the message of the Bible, we can have no other reaction than joy, amazement, and gratitude. We find that we can rejoice as much in tribulation as in times of difficulty because our joy has its foundation in God, not earthly things. Christian joy is undeterred by sorrow and suffering and indeed finds its power in the midst of trials and difficulties. Peter says that those who believe in him are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. Christ turns our sorrows into dancing and clothes us with joy.