Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
And “if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?”
Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
1 Peter 4:12-19
Peter ends the fourth chapter by once again mentioning those under persecution for their faith. Since he is repeating the thought here, I thought this might be a good time to reflect upon those who suffer for other reasons. We all know people who suffer with chronic disease, mental and emotional problems, financial hardship, disabilities and other conditions or circumstances that cause pain, hurt and despair, and these need our loving support. It is for us to reach out to offer help, to nurture and to bring comfort; may we not forget this.
For those who might find themselves in such a situation, Peter offers encouragement and guidance. We should be cheerful and hopeful. Always we should keep our trust and hope in Him, that we might give Him glory and impress those around us, not with how great we are, but so that they may see how great He is.
Yes, it is true that this life has been called a “vale of tears.” There are certainly times like that, but our hope, our joy and our strength in Christ has overcome all that. It is rather for us to have our eyes, minds and souls fixed upon Jesus through any hardship, so that His glory, power and love might be made manifest to the whole world around us.