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. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12,13
Many things can surprise us in this life. An unexpected home or car repair bill may surprise us. The underdog coming back to win the game may surprise us. A phone call or message from a friend we have not spoken to in a very long time may surprise us.
One thing that should never surprise us, though, is that Christians will suffer in this life.
Many people don’t understand this. They think that Christians shouldn’t suffer if God is watching out for them. But, the Bible makes it clear that Christians will indeed suffer in this life.
Christians suffer because they participate with Christ. They belong to him and want to be like him. They follow where he goes and where Christ went, he found suffering. He was ridiculed, ostracized, tortured, and even killed.
However, this isn’t where Christ’s story ends. He rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and is with God the Father in perfection forever. And he promises the same to every one of his followers. So, just as Christians should not be surprised that they sometimes suffer in this life just as Christ suffered in this life, Christians shouldn’t be surprised that they will one day be glorified just as Christ’s glory will one day be revealed.
Do not be surprised when suffering comes your way, dear Christian. Take comfort and look forward to the day when you will experience the glory that will be yours through your Savior.
Holy Father, while I know suffering will come in this life, help me to see it as a participation in the life of Christ. Amen