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.
No doubt this author had in mind what Jesus told them while they were in the Upper Room and on the way to the Garden. Simon Peter told the Lord that even if it meant prison and death he wouldn’t deny the Lord. He said this in the comfort of the room; there were no trials there. I’m thankful for the seasons of smoothness. If the devil had his way he’d tear us apart like a hungry bear with Sunday dinner. The Bible calls Satan a roaring lion. No matter what kind of day you have, it would be worse. Peter knew the church was undergoing trials and persecution. It had become the enemy of the Jews and the government. Christianity was perceived as a threat and Christians were blamed for everything. The devil will do his best to afflict us. Then he’ll turn around and accuse us for it. Job finally said that even though he had done all he could to stand for God, trouble still came his way.
Jesus knew that soon all the disciples would be separated from each other and he’d be gone from them. Whatever source causes a trial and whatever the temperature of it, even if you feel you’re going to burn up, remember this: even though the disciples were physically away from the Savior, Jesus had his eye on them. Case in point: when Peter denied the Lord three times in the courtyard the night Jesus was arrested, Jesus turned and looked at him after it was all done. Jesus said he will never leave or forsake us. Peter said in verse 12 think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. Don’t think “this isn’t supposed to happen.” Yes, as Christians we have peace, but a smooth road isn’t promised. Heaven is not here; it awaits us. There we will never have trials and problems and pain. In this world we will have trouble. We are in this world but we’re not part of it. God has saved us and made us his children. The devil didn’t bother most of us very much before we got saved. He didn’t bother us about our sin. Now that we believe in God, the devil and the world give us trouble. We don’t fit in now. We see an unbending devil in his pursuit after us. Our flesh has not been converted. Aren’t you glad we will shed this body one day and get a new one, one not corruptible or tainted. It will be perfect. Now we’re a saved soul in an imperfect body. Saved sheep with wolves all around. Your faith will be tested. Your love for God will be tested. You confidence in God and the church will be tested. These problems test us; they squeeze us. Don’t think it strange. Don’t think you’re the only one going through something. We’re all in the soup together. Those three Hebrews boys said they didn’t care if they did get burned, they were not going to bow down to the king. They were put in a fire seven times hotter than normal; yet their hair was not burned, not even singed by the fire. Not even the smell of smoke was on them. What was their advantage? A fourth man was in the fire: Jesus Christ. You are not alone. Your Father is with you. Sure, we’re in a pot but Jesus said to be of good cheer. He said “I have overcome the world.” That means we can too. Do you believe that?
When we suffer, when the forces of evil come, what do we do? Verse 19 tells us 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. Paul says it like this in in II Corinthians 12. After asking the Lord to remove a problem Paul was told by God My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Paul’s response: Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. In John 16:29-31 we read: His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Peace and joy are the result of knowing Jesus. We believe he is the Son of God and because of that he will give us peace in times of trouble and joy–extreme, supernatural happiness–in trying times. The devil will say “see there; where’s your peace?” It’s still there because Jesus is still there. He asked the disciples in the verses above Do ye now believe?
Do you? Yes, Lord. 100%. But if tomorrow you go through the sifter, will you believe then? Our faith must always be a “now” faith. When tomorrow becomes now, let your faith be a now faith. Jesus is a now Savior. Don’t ever forget it. You can always believe, always keep your faith in God.