By Brooke Holt
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14
Near the end of World War II, Winston Churchill spoke these words: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” At the time, Churchill was working alongside Stalin and Roosevelt to form the United Nations. Churchill wanted to seize the opportunity to bring good from the agony of those war-ridden years. This alliance was formed with the hope they could prevent another world war. Now more than 75 years later, this alliance continues and works to maintain peace, to provide humanitarian aid, and to uphold international law. What a blessed gift to come out of a time of war and destruction!
The apostle Peter would have his readers think as strategically as these men. The followers of Jesus, too, were faced with an ongoing battle – the battle of spiritual persecution along with the challenges of living in a fallen world. Peter would have them remember Christ suffered in this world. As followers of a crucified Messiah, facing their own trials and sufferings should not surprise any of them. Peter then says God calls them to rejoice in those sufferings. What could that have looked like for those early Christians and what could that look like for us today?
Though he was God, Jesus gave up all the glories and comforts of the heavenly realms to live as a man and to die as a man. Throughout his 33 years of earthly life, he experienced much suffering – the suffering of living in a human body, of being rejected, misunderstood, condemned, and ultimately dying a sinner’s death. Jesus suffered personally. He knows it and understands it. Yet, his suffering brought about salvation. Through the suffering of being rejected, condemned, and nailed to the cross where he bore the sins of the world, the way to forgiveness and eternal life was won.
Like the Christians in Peter’s time, Christians today are to keep our eyes on the victory of Jesus. Just as Jesus’ suffering led to his glory so will our godly suffering lead to glory. As Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis (or any suffering) go to waste”. Jesus and Peter would wholeheartedly agree. Though it is never invited or delightful, the Holy Spirit can use suffering in your life to bring good on this day and the day to come. Keep your eyes on the one who suffered and did not sin. Persevere through the power of the Holy Spirit and imagine the crown of glory being crafted for you.
How do you view suffering in your life? How might you change your perspective based on Peter’s words for today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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