1 Peter 4:12-13
Do Not Be Surprised…
Trials will come, and we will face our share of suffering:
“Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.” -1 Peter 4:12-13, NAB
The next few verses in 1 Peter 4 deal with facing trials and suffering for our Catholic and Christian faith. This is not a new topic. We learned about the same thing while reading through 1 Corinthians a few weeks back. As Peter tells us, we should not be surprised when our trials come.
The trial by fire Peter is speaking of may not be literal, but it will happen nonetheless. The only way to truly purify our faith is through trials. Consider this, how can God know if our faith is strong and will hold if He does not test it? How does He know we are worthy if we have not proven ourselves?
As an analogy, think of a mechanic who fixes your car. Once he changes out a part, especially major parts, he will take it out on a road test to make sure that it works the way it is supposed to. In the case of our new life in faith, it is like getting an entirely new engine, so the mechanic must really put it through the paces. The harder he tests the new engine, the more he can be sure that it will stand the test of time. Through trials, Christ is testing your new faith engine to make sure it can handle whatever life throws at it.
Are you still surprised that you are facing trials? Do you understand why you are facing them? Truth is, the stronger your faith becomes, the tougher the challenges that you will face. With faith, it seems that life will only become more difficult, but instead of being upset about it, rejoice as Peter tells us. Realize that your suffering only means that you will be able to rejoice with Christ when the time comes.
Do not be upset because of your suffering. It should not surprise you, and you must not lose hope. Your suffering is part of the refining process that the Lord uses to prepare you for heaven. Do not see your suffering as a punishment, but as bringing you one step closer to heaven.