“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but, rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings—that, when His Glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
I Peter 4:12-13
Because of Christ’s Predictions and Promises, we should never be surprised, caught off-guard or feel that God has somehow forsaken us.
The mere mention of these two words conjures up all sorts of images in our heads: Pain and suffering. Abuse and abandonment. Difficulties and even death.
But, in the midst of them all we should not “think it strange (Grk. ‘xenizo’—‘to be a host to, entertain guests, alien, etc.’) when fiery trials (Grk. ‘purosis’—‘smelting, calamity, ignition, enflamed, etc.’) try us.” This is especially so when Jesus Himself said, “In this world you WILL have tribulation (Grk. ‘thlipsis’—‘pressure, affliction, anguish, burden, persecution, etc.’); but, be of good cheer (Grk. ‘tharseo’—‘be comforted, have courage, have boldness, etc.’) for I have overcome (Grk. ‘nikao’—‘to conquer, subdue, prevail over, gain the victory, etc.’) the world.”
Truly, it is Jesus’ “greater than,” Resurrection Presence in us that gives us the victory (I Jn. 4:4; 5:4). And, it is our being “partakers (Grk. ‘koinoneo’—‘partner with, to share with others, associate, companion, etc.’) of His sufferings” that enables us to identify with Him and ask “What would Jesus do?”
Peter went on to say “If you be reproached (Grk. ‘oneidizo’—‘to defame, chide, revile, upbraid, etc.’) for the Name of Christ, you’re happy” (v.14a), which is only possible when “God’s Spirit of Glory is resting upon us” (v.14b). Let them mock us, take God’s Name in vain and trod underfoot Jesus’ precious Blood. We, who are the Redeemed, will continue pressing on the Upward Way, “glorifying Him by Whose Name we are called” (v.14c, 16b).
This will only happen when we realize we are “suffering according to the Will of God” (v.19a). . . “running with patience the Race that is SET before us” (Heb. 12:1). . .keeping our eyes upon “Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). . .and “commiting the keeping (Grk. ‘paratithemi’—‘to place alongside, deposit as a trust, entrust to, etc.’) of our souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
Always remember, dear Pilgrim:
The same One Who calls us will also keep us. He’ll never leave us in a lurch or lead us into a situation where His Grace is not sufficient for us (II Cor. 12:9-10). He has promised to “never leave us or forsake us” (Heb. 13:5b) and to always be “a very Present Help in trouble” Ps. 46:1).
And, let us never forget that our joy here—which so often is tinged and tempered by sorrow—will pale in comparison to that “unspeakable Joy that is full of Glory” and awaits us when we finally see Jesus face-to-Face (I Pet. 1:8-9). Until then, we will not be dismayed or distressed over what’s happening to or around us—for He is here. And, that’s all we need.
June 24, 2011