- we either fake it and make up some kind of begrudging joy, all the while stuffing how we feel and not admitting that life is really hard right now. of and we for sure don't tell anyone how deep this struggle is. after all, good christians, rejoice - so pull it together. so rather than truly rejoicing, we sink deeper and deeper into despair and isolation.
- the other response is to give up on god. this suffering stuff stinks and there is no way i can rejoice, christianity must not be for me.
let's look at what verses 3-5 tell us. they say that we are born again to a living hope, that we have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, and that we are being guarded by god's power (THE most powerful). i think peter is telling to rejoice in those things. when trials come, and they will again and again, peter is telling us to look to the gospel for comfort, not just try and be happy in our circumstances. he wants us to remember. remember that we were brought from death to life and that we have a god who is always with us and always in control. sometimes things are so dark that we cannot figure out what god is doing or we cannot hear him, but we can cling to what we know. we know he was pierced for our transgressions, conquered the grave, and there is now no condemnation in christ.
so, when i am faced with the dark times and trials, please preach the gospel to me and remind that i have cause to rejoice. rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible because my god will not withhold anything from me.
we have so much trouble rejoicing because rather than turning the gospel for comfort, we turn to friends, drinks, tv, isolation, relationships, etc. all things that will fall short of producing inexpressible joy in us.