Don’t Be Surprised to Suffer
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you—I Peter 4:12
What a word Peter gave here. One of those reminders that jostle us back into reality of the Christian life and earthly journey which are not meant to be a bed of roses, trouble, or pain free. Peter reminds believers not to be surprised when they suffer a fiery trial—which is over and above the regular, run-of-the-mill troubles we can face in this life—but those things which might be considered extraordinary, and not in a good way.
Like so many Bible characters we read about, Peter was familiar with fiery trials. He was well acquainted with suffering that could be brutal and unsparing. Jesus forewarned his disciples about the fiery trials they would experience as they fulfilled the great commission. He let them know life and ministry was not going to be easy, they would have great opposition and be afflicted with sufferings so great they would think they were not going to make it through.
Martin Luther said that “God lays a cross on all believers so we might taste and prove the power of God.” The power that must be taken hold of through faith. Fiery trials can bring us to our knees literally and figuratively. They can make us think we are not going to survive. They can feel more than we can bear and even make us question God’s love and plan for our life. Yet, God will allow them because we are not exceptions and the believer’s life is not meant to be exceptional in that way. We will not go through life unscathed, without experiencing hurt or pain or devastation. Whether our fiery trial takes the form of grief from unexpected loss, sickness that brings the body close to death, a marriage or relationship that shatters us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, or a catastrophe caused by the elements, or any other cross that tests our faith in God, we can be assured our Lord is with us, watching over us, and his hand is always on us.
Our fiery trial has been allowed in order to test our faith and resolve in God, but God will not leave us comfortless, or powerless. He will help us overcome and be victorious. He will help us endure and persevere.
Dear Jesus, as you did your disciples long ago, we pray, help us to endure our fiery trials and sufferings. Let your promise never to leave us, never to forsake us be a strong anchor for us today which keeps us firmly grounded and moving forward in hope and faith. Amen