Devotional for Monday, June 25, 2012
Twilight: The Suffering of God's People
by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Peter's first epistle is addressed to "strangers in the world," who have their homeland in heaven. They are not surprised that they suffer when they do what is right. They follow the footprints of Jesus.
1 Peter 4:12–16
Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Pet. 4:12).
We have much more reason to believe that something strange is happening when the church is at peace than when it is under fire.
If our Christian way of life is generally accepted by those around us, we have cause to examine our way of life. Our Master was "despised and rejected." And we claim to be his followers.
In this letter addressed to suffering Christians, Peter gives several reasons why we should expect to go through the fire. First, Christians need to be tested and proved. Everything worthwhile must be tested for endurance and genuineness. Therefore, the Christian faith, our most precious possession, must be put to the test.
Second, suffering is quite consistent with our profession. Through suffering we are admitted to fellowship with Christ, who also suffered during his earthly experience. So we should not be overly eager to avoid suffering for Jesus' sake; our trials and pain bring us into his blessed presence and give a deep joy. It's not fun, of course. But the Bible says that the glory of Christ is never more real than in our suffering.
Pray for Christians who live in prosperity, that God will nevertheless keep them close to the cross.