When Strange Things Happen to Christians
When Strange Things Happen To Christians August 28, 2022
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evil-doer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.” (I Peter 4:12-16)
It has been said that strange things happen to strange people. That may be true to a certain degree but what about when strange things happen to Christians? In the scripture above some Christians thought it strange that they should suffer as a follower of Christ. Perhaps they thought that since they were God’s children that He wouldn’t allow anything bad to happen to them. Or they, like Job’s three friends, believed that suffering was the result of sinning against God and unless they repented of their sins then they would continue to suffer. Peter admits that their suffering was quite an ordeal, a fiery ordeal as he puts it but then he tells them not to be surprised when they suffer so. There was a reason for their suffering. It came upon them for their testing.
What testing? The testing of their faith & reliance upon God. It easy to say one trusts in God when things are going well but about when strange things happen in your life such as suffering. Where is one’s faith when their suffering persists? Where is one’s faith when it seems the promises of God are not being fulfilled in your life? Where is one’s faith when it appears that God is not answering your prayers? Does your faith begin to waver in unbelief? Abraham’s faith never wavered when it was tested but actually it grew stronger because of the testing of it. He relied even more on God during the most challenging times of his life (Romans 4:18-25). How do we fare when it comes to the testing of our faith? It may seem unfair to us that God would allow us to undergo various trials as a result of serving Him but that often was the case with those in the early church.
When suffering for Christ one shares the sufferings of Christ. When Jesus had our best interests at heart He suffered for it. When Christians have Jesus’ best interests at heart then they, too, will suffer. The apostle Paul states that all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (II Timothy 3:12). And in that suffering and all future sufferings they have every reason to rejoice because in those sufferings they come to know Jesus in a more meaningful way than ever before. We can read about Him and know of Him or we can also suffer with Him and know Him. Paul desired to know Jesus and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10).
Peter reminds suffering Christians that whenever they suffer for the name of Christ they are blessed. They should never feel ashamed for suffering for Him as He never was suffering for them. Remember that God always notices any who suffer for the cause of Christ so glorify Him throughout your suffering as Jesus did (John 17:4).
It’s not a strange thing to suffer for Christ. It’s a blessing!!