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July 27 – Sojourners are not surprised by suffering

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you. – 1 Peter 4:12

Scripture reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19

Amid the current struggles, do you ever think, “I thought being a Christian was going to be easier?” Have we been so spoiled by prosperity and comfort that we are caught completely off-guard when difficulties come our way?

Peter says we should not be surprised. When we experience suffering as Christians, our inclination may be to lash out in anger, or languish in despair. Perhaps we may become bitter and begin to see the world and its leaders as the enemy. Rather than react, Peter says we should rejoice that we share in Christ’s sufferings. If we are ridiculed for Christ, we are blessed. Not cursed. Blessed.

These are fiery trials, but you share in Christ’s suffering. You are not being asked to atone for your sins. Christ bore our sins in His suffering (1 Peter 2:24). He suffered to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). We suffer with Christ because we identify with Him. Therefore, we will be like Him and be willing to suffer for Him. But we are not alone in these trials. He is with us.

The trials are sent by the loving Master Refiner Who knows what He is doing. As with Daniel’s three friends, Christ is with you in the furnace of affliction (Daniel 3:25). Be sure not to suffer as an evildoer. Do not be afraid to suffer as a Christian. Jesus has got this. If you suffer for doing the will of God, do not be ashamed, rest confidently in Him, He is your faithful and loving Lord.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God for the finished work of Jesus. If you are suffering, rejoice in the privilege that you may do so with and for Christ. Ask God to help you not to be so comfortable that you are caught off-guard by suffering. Pray that you may suffer well that God will be seen to be glorious.

Rev. John A. Bouwers is pastor of the Hope Reformed Church (URCNA) in Brampton, ON, where he has served since December 2017. He is married to Julie and they have been blessed with six children and twelve grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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