1 Peter 4:12-14 “12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
3 things are mentioned here that are really strange to a non-Christian spirit:
- Suffering fiery trials is not strange.
- Rejoice when you are in trials.
- We should be happy when reproached for the name of Christ.
Interestingly, sufferings proceed from the devil and his target is primarily the people of God. Remember Jobs’ trials?
Job was a God-fearing man (Job 1:1) who was blessed with much wealth (Job 1:2-4).
However, due to Satan’s’ instigation, Job lost all that he had: his servants and livestock (Job 1:13-17) and his children (Job 1:18-19).
Jobs’ own body was afflicted by diseases from the devil (Job 2:7, 8) and his wife turned against God, advising Job to curse Him and die (Job 2:9, 10)
In all this, Job did not charge God foolishly (Job 1:22). Why? Job knew his God. Do you know your God? He knew his good God does not bring evil upon His children.
Lamentations 3:33 “For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.”
Abraham speaking to God when informed of His intention to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah replied: Genesis 18:25 “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Job, being a righteous man, God could not visit his judgments upon him.
God Himself, speaking to the devil said concerning what had befallen Job: Job 2:3 “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
It was never Gods’ act to visit sufferings upon the innocent man. The devil did this.
Similarly, we read of Abel & Cain: 1 John 3:12 “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.”
The evil heart works under the inspiration of the devil and behaves just like the devil.
And such is the life of the Christian. The devil is constantly working to annoy and cause men to lose their hold on Christ by faith and lead them to blaspheme.
Thus Paul said: 2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
The challenge is to have the joy of Christ when under such circumstances. Yet, if we fully trust in the Lord, then that joy will never be wanting, since we know that all things are under His control because God gave all power in heaven and earth to Him.
That God may strengthen our faith to be able to stand in the midst of sufferings. Financial losses in these days of massive job losses, high costs of living, sicknesses, bereavements, religious persecution and all these evil proceed from the devil and God has assured us of coming out of all these victorious. Read Job 42:10-16 and see his latter end.
Jesus promised us this when He said:
Luke 18:28-30 “28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,
30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”
Mark 10:28-30 “28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
Therefore, fellow Christians, take heart when sufferings pain you and call upon our Lord in faith, reminding Him of His promises to us.
By faith, take hold upon Gods’ promises and see what the Lord has already done and shall do!