Don’t Be Surprised!

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Pressing on!  This is several years ago, while doing some speed work at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton.  This is where my running career had its start. 

Seventh Sunday of Easter (May 28, 2017)

1 Peter 4:12-14 | New Living Translation (NLT)

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.

1 Peter 5:6-11 | New Living Translation (NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believersall over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.11 All power to him forever! Amen.

Over the last few weeks we have been in Peter’s first letter.  Like I mentioned last week, there are several themes.  Today the theme once again is suffering or trials.  I like how Peter writes this.  “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.”

So many times we thing that trials and suffering are a punishment – much like the way Isaiah told us that we thought Christ’s suffering was his own fault.  It’s something about our nature.  If we do good, we think we should be blessed and if we do bad, we should be punished.  However, Peter tells us that trials are part of the Christian life…in fact Peter goes on to tell us we should be glad.  I know that strikes us as strange…that we should be glad for trials or for suffering, but we are reminded that in our suffering…we are now partners with Christ – not just partners with Christ – but partners with Christ in his suffering.  And these trials will bring us great joy when we are reunited with Christ.

Both Paul and James share this thought.  James says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Perhaps today, you need the encouragement to stay the course – the trials should come as no surprise – keep on persevering – keep on persevering in our confident hope of salvation (Romans 5:4b)


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