"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations" (I Peter 1:6).
The Greek word translated "heaviness" in our text denotes a deep sorrow. The saints to whom Peter wrote had recently suffered tremendous loss. Due to persecution, they had been scattered around Asia Minor (I Peter 1:1). Often-times great loss (job, health, finances, home) can cause heavy-hearted sorrow.
Paul spoke of another cause for great sorrow -- bereavement. He wrote to the Philippian church about their beloved pastor, Epaphroditus. "For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow" (Philippians 2:26-27).
Another cause of great sorrow is Satanic attack. Oftentimes these attacks can be so intense that the feelings of despair and discouragement tempt us to give up. It seems that we might never succeed in our goal of accomplishing what will please the Lord. Jesus had endured such an attack. "And He taketh with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch" (Mark 14:33-34). Here we note again this great "heaviness," almost to the point of death. Yet Christ persevered through this period by prayer.
Few have been tried like the great patriarch Job. His confident faith in God through great trial is an inspiration to all who face trials today: "But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10). DW