The Serendipity of Suffering
Pleasant Surprise – Part 2
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19
Key Verse: 1 Peter 4:12
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.
The Apostle Peter goes beyond the thought of accepting painful trials to actually being joyful. This seems like a big stretch to most of us but in the mind of these early believers, they saw suffering far different than we do in this modern age. They witnessed the suffering of Jesus and, by the help of the Holy Spirit, understood clearly He wasn’t suffering for His own sins but for the sins of the world. These early Christ followers grasped the concept of their own suffering connecting them to Christ’s suffering.
Here is the serendipitous experience: our suffering connects us to Christ like nothing else can. A true believer can rejoice over that outcome. Look at Peter’s words: “You are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Peter 4:14). A suffering Christ follower might say, “I didn’t see that coming!” This is the surprising and wonderful results of suffering for Christ.
Does all our suffering bring this wonderful experience? Peter says, “No.” If you suffer because you committed a crime or were meddling in other people’s affairs, then you shouldn’t expect a blessing from that. If we are honest, we cause some of our own suffering by making poor choices. A smoker, for example, who gets lung cancer, should not blame God for not blessing him with good health. If we suffer because we are unwilling to cut corners, lie or do anything to bring shame on God, we should rejoice!
Father, I want to be faithful to you even when it will cause some suffering for me. Grant me your strength and courage. In Jesus’ name, amen.