“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” 1 Peter 4:12
And yet, isn't that the first thing we do when trials come? We stand there in amazement like it's some unexpected, strange thing. We know the verse. We've been warned. So why do we still stand there in shock?
A friend of mine said, "This verse challenges our very thought process." We have to train ourselves out of our ordinary respondence. It's natural to be surprised at something bad, but Jesus warned us we'd be persecuted unjustly (Matt. 5:11) and so did many others in the Bible. We need to learn how to stop freezing when trials come, when someone treats us unjustly, and just take it as an natural, everyday occurrence.
Don't falter at trails. Don't freeze. Have faith.
My friend also said, "Faith is no complaining, no explanation."
Um, but fiery stuff hurts!
Yes, it does. But faith isn't complaining about the trial. It's just living through it with a sweet, loving, meek attitude because, after all, trials are just natural, expected, normal. And that sounds so strange doesn't it? That's why we must retrain our brains, so we don't think the fiery trials are strange.
If you're complaining, you aren't exercising faith.
But isn't that the second thing we do after freezing in shock? We start complaining because we have every right to do so. I mean Jesus said it would be unjust! It's just natural to complain and tell the world how hard this unjust thing is.
But, once again, that's where this verse challenges our very thought process. We have to learn how to stop being surprised at trials and how not to complain about them because it HAS TO BE unjust. Why? Peter asks us (in paraphrase) "If you are getting your just desserts, what reward can God give for that?" The fiery trail must be unwarranted in order to be rewarded. (1 Peter 2:20)
Don't need to know why.
Yep, faith is not asking any of the 5 questions of journalism: how, why, what, where, or who. Faith is the hope of things NOT SEEN. (Heb. 11:1) And ugh, it doesn't feel normal to not question why this is happening to us, but then Jesus already answered the question. They did it to Him. They are going to it to us because of Him. (Matt. 5:11-12, John 15:20) So, you already know all you need to know about why, and you're in good company. They did it to Jesus, the prophets, and all the apostles too.
Hey, I'm not saying I'm any good at this. Nope, stuff happens, and I still stand there like it's some strange thing. Saying unjust trials and buffeting is expected and ordinary still grates at my nerves like it's wrong. I need to train my natural thought process to be Heavenly rather than earthy.
Think it not strange because it's not.
This devotional was written from notes I took while a friend (who has been battling cancer) was preaching. It is used with his permission.