2309) Don’t Be Surprised

Beneath This Strain – 1 Peter 4:12-13 | The Bottom of a Bottle

I Peter 4:12-16  —  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.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.


By Randy Alcorn, at:  http://www.epm.org

   God’s people will face great suffering, as some are right now.  As serious as suffering is, it’s always struck me as interesting when Peter writes, “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” (I Peter 4:12).

     Unfortunately, if our theology hasn’t prepared us for suffering, we may be more than just surprised when trials come our way.  We might feel as though our faith—and God Himself—has let us down.  But a faith that leaves us unprepared for suffering is a weak faith.

     A lot of bad theology inevitably surfaces when we face suffering.  Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl wrote:

Just as the small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it, likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicaments and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.

     When people lose their faith because of suffering, it’s usually a weak or nominal faith that doesn’t account for or prepare them for evil and suffering.

     Believing God exists is not the same as trusting the God who exists.   If you base your faith on lack of affliction, your faith lives on the brink of extinction and will fall apart because of a frightening diagnosis or a shattering phone call.  Token faith will not survive suffering.  Suffering and evil exert a force that either pushes us away from God or pulls us toward him.


PSALM 69:15-17:

Do not let the floodwaters engulf me, or the depths swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.  Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me.  Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.