1 Peter 4:12-16
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:…
"Think it not strange!" But it does seem strange that the waters of a full cup should be wrung out to the saints, whilst sinners walk on the sunny side of the hedge! Strange to find some of the sweetest and noblest of God's children racked with agony, dying of cancer, beset with poverty, misunderstanding, and hatred. And yet it would be stranger still if it were not so. Let us look into the considerations which rob suffering of its strange ness.
I. THIS WORLD IS IN REVOLT. Is it to be wondered at that the servants of the Divinely designated Prince should experience rough treatment at the hands of the rebel forces? It could not be otherwise.
II. ALONG THIS WAY THE MASTER WENT.
III. THIS IS THE WAY HOME. If we were universally beloved, and no voice were ever raised in hatred or calumny, we might truly question whether we were at all on the heavenward track. As mountain climbers after a snowstorm can tell the path by the line of posts placed at intervals along the mountain side, so may Christians tell that they are on the track of the Church by the antagonism manifested against their religion in Jesus Christ.
IV. THERE IS AN OBJECT IN SUCH SUFFERING. It is carefully designed by the skill of the great Artificer. There may have been many a previous secret prayer for growth in grace and usefulness, and the answer has come in the use of fire, file, and hammer, wielded by God, though furnished by the hatred of the sons of men. There is no other way of eliminating much of the selfish dross of our natures.
V. HEREIN WE PARTAKE OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS. His life in us meets the same treatment as it did in Him. Ah, it is good to share anything with Him. Sweet things are bitter when He is absent, and bitter things sweet if He is near.
VI. LOOK ON TO THE END. His glory shall be revealed! His sufferings quicken our anticipations of that blessed day. Too much comfort might make us think ourselves at home, so that we might not so ardently reach out our hands towards our coming glories.
VII. WE ARE COMPENSATED FOR SUCH SUFFERING BY THE PRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT OF GLORY. When such suffering lies heavily on the soul, God sees to it that it is no loser. What is lost from without is replenished from within. As water is thrown on the fire from the one side of the wall, a bright angel on the other pours in oil through a tiny aperture, till the flame breaks out as coals of juniper. Ah, what compensations are ours! The Jews who walk the streets of Tangier and other Moorish towns, the hatred of all the people, are said to have exquisitely furnished rooms within their ordinary looking dwellings, where they surround themselves with every luxury. So, as the spiritual man turns from the hatred of man to the special bestowments of God, he is compensated a hundred fold, When we have least human love, we have most of God's.
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: