1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
Have you been through a time in your life when it seemed that everything went wrong? Your car broke down, you got laid off from work, you didn’t get the job you hoped for, your water heater went out, the furnace broke, the air conditioning broke in your car, or something else. Interesting that we can come up with so many things that go wrong in our lives. My guess is that as you were reading the long list of problems, you were quickly able to think of your most recent issues.
Perhaps you have been in a place where many of your friends and family are experiencing problems, and it just feels like the whole world is coming apart. We know that problems will arise in our lives, and yet, we still seem surprised when it happens. We may feel like God is letting us down or that we are being punished. While the daily issues of life can sometimes be overwhelming, this passage is referring to suffering for being a Christian. Yes, you will face everyday problems, but as you grow in your walk with God, you will find many more troubles in this world as you “participate in the sufferings of Christ.” Others will challenge your faith, situations will arise that may make you question God’s ways, and Satan will do everything possible to derail your relationship with God.
When these things happen, did you read where it says we should give up? There was also the part about breaking down and forgetting God. . .did you see that in there near where it talks about giving up? Of course, none of this is even thought of as a possibility. Instead, we are asked to rejoice in our sufferings. When you have gone through hard times, did you want to give up or ask God, “Why?” I know I have. But, when we live for God, we know what to expect; not just small issues, but fiery ordeals because we “will be tested.” The next time this situation happens, stop and rejoice as it is said we should do. Rejoice in the sufferings because you never know who you may be affecting. Don’t be selfish, and feel sorry for yourself, but rather, rejoice in the Lord during those times when we all fall down, just as God’s Word calls us to do. And, if you follow the Word; one day, you will be “overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” That, my friends, is a reason for all of us to rejoice in even the most difficult of circumstances.