“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 ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”I Peter 4:12-13
I use to have a little dog, Ferny, who weighed nine pounds soaking wet. He was an aggressive barker, but thankfully not an aggressive biter. He would sometimes bump into something or fall off a lap, and when he committed a blunder such as this, he would always have a puzzled look on his face. He would look at the ground or smell the item he bumped into. He was always surprised that he fell or bumped into something as if the object jumped out and grabbed him or as if there was an evil plot against him. He failed to see that he was not a young pup as he used to be and there is no plot against him except the side affects of aging. I would always laugh when I would see him look for the shooter on the grassy knoll.
I have been fortunate in my life to not have experienced persecution. I know there are some in the world today who die for their beliefs and are persecuted for the name of Christ. We experience freedom of religion and have the ability to worship anywhere we like. We are not relegated to underground churches or forced to be secretive concerning our religious beliefs. Christ suffered like no man has suffered as paid the ultimate price, and He still experienced joy as He neared the end of His life. In America today, we are spared from this type of religious persecution, but it does not mean we do not experience real trials in our life.
I know some who have lost their jobs, and some who have tragically lost someone they loved. There are some who have experienced great heartache and God has allowed them to go through trials that would make us cringe. We are told not to look at these trials as a strange or surprising thing (like my dog does), but we are to rejoice in the trials we go through. Those who are persecuted for their stand in God are partakers of Christ’s suffering, and in the end will be filled with exceeding joy. Trials will come for the Christian, but they are not in vain and serve a purpose for God’s honor and glory if we will allow Him to work in us.
What are you going through today? Are you truly suffering for Christ or are you just complaining about inconveniences? Do you latch on to the daily news are or are you vested in the promises of God? Are you grateful to have religious freedom or do you complain about having to come to church instead of watching online? May we be willing to suffer for Christ if that time comes, and may we always remember the suffering He undertook for us. Cling to His promises in the time of trial and difficulty and know that this too shall pass.