This is good advice from a man soon to be executed. He knew his execution was coming because he was a Christian. Those were strange, trying times and we see it again today. It is frightening all over the world. The familiar things and freedoms we used to count on are diminishing. It’s always been a strange world and God’s people are counted more and more as strangers here. The Lord says not to be so allied and obligated to the world system that you aren’t free to be a child of God. We’re of our Father because we’re saved. We’re children of light not darkness
I Peter 4: 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 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. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Strange. What does it mean? Have you ever been on a long trip and return home and it seemed strange? It passes quickly because things come back to us. It’s familiar. We need to live for the Lord in easy and hard times, in the familiar and the strange. The world seems to rapidly change. Bad news comes on top of bad news. It’s taking away the familiarity. We have been blessed more than cursed. We enjoy life more than suffer torments. People go through trials. You wake up one morning and things just go wrong. It rains on the just as well as the unjust. We get into our routine but must be ready to face the surprises. The devil can broadside us. What seems to be normal, smooth, easy and familiar becomes out of kilter. It is strange.
I’m glad that whatever tries us doesn’t try God. What worries us doesn’t worry God. When you think your relationship with God isn’t working, that’s the time it’s working greater than ever. Paul had a thorn in the flesh that he prayed for removal. Instead of taking it away God told him grace was sufficient for him to accept it. Nero was in rule. He hated Christians. He wanted to stamp out Christianity. Peter knew his life was almost over. He had enjoyed a good life. Now in these rough times of prison, and the pressure of the world against him and Christianity, God was still on the throne. Jesus was still at his right hand. Even though the Christians were scattered and times were strange, God was there. We’re going through troubles. None of us are trouble free and if you are you won’t be long. No matter where you go, God is there. He’ll be the lily in the valley and the Rose of Sharon on the mountain. Look around. There is a flower blooming.
Think it not strange. Whatever you’re going through—problems with health, money, or earthly stability—the devil can’t take your soul. God will make a way. The devil is not God. We’re more than flesh and bones; we’re a living soul. These times may be unfamiliar but remember the impossible was made possible when Jesus was on earth. Every way he turned the enemy was there. Jesus told us that in this world we would have trouble but to be of good cheer. We can make it through. Don’t think it strange. The devil may tell you that God is not hearing you, that times are too bad and you might as well give up on God. The Bible says don’t despair. Peter knew the people were concerned for him, but he knew the troubles would come. He told them he was all right and still trusting God. He said 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. The glory will come for staying true and claiming the promises of God.
The devil will make everything seem strange and try to crowd God out. When we feel that the world and life crowd God away nothing is further from the truth. This life, this body, our assets may fall apart. You may lose your home and health. Life as you know it may change. You don’t have to lose your relationship with God. If we live right rest assured that nothing can come between us and the Lord. If we’re reproached for the name of Christ, think it not strange. Rejoice.
Jesus is soon coming, not if but when. The state of the world is fulfilling Bible prophecy. There are pressures from without and within. The forces of darkness are coming together. The coming of Christ and the anti-Christ is soon. Don’t focus on things being strange. Let the devil call you every name in the book. The anti-God movement is strong. Don’t cave in. Keep living right. Don’t think of yourself as a sufferer but as a partaker. It’s hard to claim the promises of God when going around in circles. God wants us to suck it up and be the Christian we need to be. If the squeeze is on, squeeze the altar and the Bible. Seek the Lord. Be in the squeeze of God. We’ll be partakers of the glory.
Until the glory comes, be a partaker of the joy. The Bible says that for the joy set before him Jesus endured the shame of the cross. It’s time to endure and carry our cross. No matter how bad it hurts be counted as a partaker. All the bad will be touched with God’s joy. Don’t think of it as strange. If you have doubts it’s a good time to draw nigh to God and get the answers we need.