“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. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12–13)
Don’t be surprised. The world hates Christians. So does the devil, and even your own sinful flesh hates your faithfulness. The common thread among the early Christians, though, was that they rejoiced that the Lord God found them worthy to bear these trials and sufferings, and to suffer as their Lord Jesus had.
In the context of our American lifestyle, we have no clue what that means. We avoid suffering as much as we can, through therapy, pills, and more. Anything to avoid whatever looks like suffering. We don’t even consider the idea of suffering for the faith! But God’s Word says something different. There may well be a day when you are targeted by Satan for your faith, and he directs someone you might even consider a friend to cause you grief because of your belief in Christ.
Rejoice in that day, Peter says. But how? How can you rejoice that you are about to suffer? You can because of the eternity Jesus has prepared for you. What is 100 years or even a day compared to forever?
Your Lord God knows you. He never leaves you alone, and He will not abandon you. If He considers you worthy to go through a trial that you think is beyond you, rest in His hands. Call on Him to give you strength, because He will. He has found you worthy, He will never abandon you, and He will save you, all for Christ’s sake.
Lord God, heavenly Father, as we struggle here below with divisions among us, searching for peace among men, remind us daily of the peace of heaven purchased through the bloody death and triumphant resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who with You and the Holy Spirit is one God, now and forever. Amen.