Peter says not to be surprised at the fiery ordeal among us, the fiery trials that come upon us to examine us, as though some strange thing is happening to us (I Pet. 4:12). Yet we understand why he warned us to not be surprised because it seems that’s always our tendency. “What is happening?” We shout. “Where did this come from?”
Nobody likes hard times. And life can holiness God sometimes be quite challenging, even for Christians. Peter goes on to say that we ought to rejoice to the amount that we discuss the sufferings of Christ, in other words, being reviled for the name of Jesus, persecuted for righteousness sake (I Pet. 4:13-16). And really, if we are walking in the perfect will of God, this is the only sort of suffering that we should endure. After all, Jesus’ sacrifice of 33 and a half years included every sort of anguish that Satan brings upon us such as illness, rejection, and the end result of curses, including the curse of poverty over the previous day of his lifetime. He had been a substitutionary sacrifice for us. He suffered in our place so that we don’t need to endure these attacks of Satan. The reality, however, is that we don’t always walk into God’s perfect will. Sometimes we suffer because of a lack of knowledge.
One of those pastors in Africa simply lost his daughter from passing. This is one of the most significant trials parents could face. But God’s promise is that no test will be too good for us to bear since He is always with us (I Cor. 10:13). Even if we find ourselves obliged to walk to get a charm through the valley of the shadow of death, we could reach out to the hands of our Shepherd Jesus to lead us through that valley. His rod and His staff do really comfort us (Psalm 23).
No matter what we go through, He promised that He would always be there as Yahovah Shammah. He would never leave us or forsake us, even if it looked like He did (Heb. 13:5). It is in those instances of fiery trials which we realize that our God who is Love is more worried about our holy character that will last forever than with the simplicity we might experience within an trouble-free life. Not that He attracts the fire upon us directly. Satan does this. But God is the overall orchestrator of the process of purification that results.