The Greek word “poikilos” is an adjective used twice by Peter in his first letter to the Christians. It is translated as “multifaceted” or “multicolored” and is used, as adjectives are, to describe something. In his first use of the word, 1 Peter 1:6, Peter describes the kinds of sufferings or trials that believers may have to endure. They are “multifaceted.” Some translations just use the word “various” like the ESV. It says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.” The NIV uses “all kinds of trials” in its translation. The word is descriptive of the kinds of trials that face all believers in every generation. We have many different kinds of trials in life. We have physical trials. Our bodies get sick and we often get hurt. We have emotional struggles in relationships and we hurt and offend each other in this life. We have spiritual battles that we all fight and sometimes lose. We have trials on the job, with our finances, with health and the list could go on and on. The fact is, as Peter tells us, we have “many different kinds of trials.”

The second time poikilos is used by Peter it’s in chapter 4 and verse ten. It too is an adjective modifying a noun. But this time instead of modifying the noun “trials” it modifies the noun “grace.” There are many kinds of trials and there are many kinds of graces (if you will!). I hope you grasp the wonderful parallel. For every kind of trial you and I might face in life God has a particular kind of grace specifically given for that trial. The multifaceted trials of life are counteracted by the multifaceted grace of God.

Paul once prayed deeply for a “thorn in the flesh” to be removed from him. As a matter of fact, 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 tells us “I prayed to the lord three times for it to be removed. And God said to me ‘My Grace is sufficient for you.’” When we go through various trials they sometimes become all we can see in our lives. We are consumed by them. We lay awake at night and worry about them and fret over them. But God instructs Paul to take his focus off his various trials and put them on God’s multifaceted Grace. God’s grace will get us through it all. Peter said it was only for “a little while” and Paul recognized that it was these very trials the God would use to make him stronger.

“… in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7