Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I never Saw That One Coming

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe 4:13 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.
1Pe 4:14 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.
1Pe 4:15 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.
1Pe 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Getting smacked upside the head by the devil and his imps should never take us by surprise, and yet, it usually does.

1) The "Who" of our trials can seem strange. Sometimes it is the personel the enemy uses to cause us trials. If it were people we know can't stand us, it would be no big deal, no surprise at all. But when people we know and are close to cause us grief and heartache, it hurts deeply. We think of the propehcy concerning Jesus and His betrayer. Psalm 41:9 declares, "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."

2) The "Where" of our trials can seem very odd. Other times, it is the context in which the sufferings come. We expect opposition from the world, but when it happens at home or in our church, we are generally caught off guard and the hurt is much deeper. Again, a prophecy concerning Jesus' betrayal, Zec 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

We expect safety in and around home and church and yet this is where the knife cuts deeper than anywhere. The last words of Julius Ceasar are said to have been, "Et tu, Brute!" "Even you, Brutus?"

Again, we are warned not to be surprised about the who and where of our trials and suffering.

3) The "When" of our troubles. The timing of our problems can sure take us unawares. Doesn't the problem always seem to come at the most inopportune time? I suppose there is never a good time for hurt and harm.

Often, we are riding a great wave of accomplishment. relationships are going well, work is productive, finances are fine and the boom is lowered and our world grinds to a horrific halt.

But there are those times when we are so far down we'd have to reach up to scrath a snake's belly, when it seems we have seen the worst that additional waves threaten to sink our ship.

4) The "What" of our woes. We use the word "strange" as a description of the things that happen to us. Peter says don't think it strange.

We have to admit that when one strange thing piles on top of another, eventually, nothing surprises us. The fiery trials that we never would have guessed cause us to say, "nothing surprises me anymore." Been there? If not, you will.

5) The "Why" of our sufferings. Finally, we can deal with trials from God's perspective. We may never, in this life, be able to give an answer as to why terrible things come upon us. But we do know this, when His glory is revealed, we will be glad with exceeding joy. There is a great day coming by and by, where all believers will be richly repaid for the sufferings (not of their own doing) they have endured.

Who has unjustly suffered more than our Savior? And yet, His suffering bought our salvation.

Know that your suffering is not in vain. That which God allows to come against us serves to draw us closer to Him, to depend upon His grace, to be an inspiration and help to others and to gain us a greater glory in heaven.

Perhaps today you are in the midst of tremendous difficulty. You have troubles you never bargained for. Think it not strange, you have a very real enemy out there who is "hell-bent" on your misery. But you also have a great God who is able to give great grace and eventually, deliverence.

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