Suffering and the Will of God - I Peter 4:12
July 31, 2023, 9:00 AM

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

David Mazel talked to his rabbi once when he was asked how things were going, He answered, "Things are going all right, but it wouldn't hurt if they went a little better." The rabbi said, "And how do you know it wouldn't hurt?"

One gardener said of his chrysanthemum that we concentrate all the strength of the plant in one bloom. If we would allow it to bear all the flowers it could, none would be worth showing. If you want a prize specimen you must be content with a single chrysanthemum instead of many. So too, God prunes from our lives certain habits and practices, which in themselves may not be wrong, so that He may perfect in us the qualities he desires for the purposes He desires and in that we are honored and blessed.

When bad things happen to good people, it is normal to ask why? It is confusing, knowing that a sovereign God is in charge, not only of the universe, but our lives. How does His power and wisdom fit in with something that hurts? It doesn’t make sense to us.

In this week’s passage there is pain mentioned. It is part of suffering. Sometimes that pain is physical. The story of Job or even the experience of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 speaks of physical pain that comes as a messenger of Satan, but allowed by God. It seems as if it is His permissive will that sufferings ultimately accomplish His perfect will. Good things come out of it, but it is normal to do everything one can to get out from under it when it comes to sickness or pain.

The believers throughout Christendom, physical pain also came with the beatings and the jailings that occurred under persecution. It might involve hunger. thirst, sleeplessness and soreness when called or forced into uncomfortable environments. Doing what God calls us to do is not always comfortable.

Suffering can include emotional or psychological pain when people are insulted and harassed by others.

Abuses come to Christians as well as non-Christians in our fallen world when there are robberies, rapes, and bankruptcies. In this cursed world, until we see Satan defeated, the pain of suffering is a fact. It is normal to question God when we are hurting, but Peter points us to look beyond the present. God is still on His throne.

The Lord produces vibrant, fruitful saints by allowing the painful experiences of sorrow and trials to touch their lives. Believers who have experienced testing can confirm that through it they developed character and stamina, not the sheltered oasis of peace and rest, but out in the difficult experiences of life.

Prayer: Lord, I believe that in the pains of life, I will learn to seek You harder and find You in ways that I might not have guessed because I know You are on the throne.