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Why are you surprised?
We find these words in God’s precious Word:
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.” – I Peter 4:12-13 (HCSB)
Why are you surprised? When we see the writer saying, “Rejoice,” we respond with a turned-up nose, tears in our eyes, a frown on our face. Because we are God’s children, and we are not supposed to face the “fiery ordeal.”
There is not a one of us who wishes for hard, difficult, terrible times to come into our lives. We do not want our children to hurt. We do not want to see our mate struggle. We do not want to experience sorrow. There is not a one of us who plans on it. Not a one of us willingly plunging into such misery. No one wants to volunteer to participate in such a difficult time.
Nope! No one. No one wants to suffer, begging God for a storm to pass over our lives. No one desires or longs to wade into deep rivers of hurt, rejection, or pain. No one desires to face breakers of ocean water taking us into darkness, confusion, or doubt.
Therefore, we are so surprised when such things come. Yet, they will come. Even for the child of God. Yes, Christian friend, you will experience the ups and downs of life. You will experience the mountaintops and the valleys.
Reminds me of the words of David:
“Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4 (HCSB)
This is why we are encouraged to “rejoice.” He, that is God, never promised life would be easy. He promised that He is bigger than any storm, and He uses the storms to work good in our lives.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (HCSB)
So we will REJOICE! That is the correct way to respond in those dark, difficult days which come upon you. Rejoice!
The truth is God is at work. God promises to bring good form the storms of devastation in our lives. He desires to bring beauty from the ashes. He desires to create in us His image. He desires for us to trust Him and Him alone.
There is great gain when we face painful times, as difficult as these may be. The storms, the pain, the sorrow will attempt to consume you, wipe away your hope, create despair. But God says, REJOICE! Do not be surprised when these things come, but rejoice that God has allowed you the opportunity to learn to trust Him and grow in Him. His ways are perfect.
It is not easy. Never easy.
It is necessary.
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)
It is a choice! You decide. I encourage you to choose to rejoice. I will rejoice!
Until next time…
Dr. Jeff Fuller is pastor of Rockford Baptist Church. You may reach him through the church office at 256-377-4900 or by email at email@example.com.