This Weekâ€™s Readings: I Peter 4:7-14
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try youâ€¦but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christâ€™s sufferings... (I Peter 4:12-13)
So, dotrials and problems ever surprise you? Sure they do. Do you ever think them strange? Of course. Do you walk around in your own little world expecting everything always to be good and never to have any problems? Sometimes. And when trouble does arise, does your faith and trust in Christ waver? More than you would like to admit. Do you ever think, even for a moment, that God does not love you anymore, and that He has turned you over to the evil one? Maybe the thought has crossed your mind. When you suffer ridicule and hardship for the sake of Christ and your confession of Him as Savior, do you alwaysrejoice? Well, not alwaysâ€¦truth be told, hardly ever.
If any of that is true about you, you are normalâ€¦and you are sinfulâ€¦and thereâ€™s nothing youcan do about that. Life in this sinful and falling-apart-at-the-seams world is frequently challenging. And, as St. Peter says, you should not think it strange when you suffer. And the sooner you understand that you are not in control of your circumstances, the better off youâ€™ll be. Repent of wanting to be your own god.
Hear this promise of God from St. Paul in Romans 8:38-39, â€śFor I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.â€ť
Rejoice! Christ is for you, in you, and with you at all times.
Why should cross and trial grieve me? Christ is near with His cheer; never will He leave me. Who can rob me of the heaven that Godâ€™s Son for me won when His life was given? Now in Christ, death cannot slay me, though it might, day and night, trouble and dismay me. Christ has made my death a portal from the strife of this life to His joy immortal! (LSB 756:1,5)
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