I Peter 4:12-19
To those who cling to the LORD, you have power and security.
Remember Dad’s first point in Christian Suffering—expect it. If you haven’t suffered, there is probably something wrong.
John Wesley was riding his horse once when he realized that nobody had thrown anything at him recently. Now, Rev. Wesley was used to having rotten eggs, tomatoes, rocks, and just about anything else thrown at him wherever he went…he expected it. Anyways, Wesley stopped his horse as soon as he realized this, slid off, and started praying. A bystander heard his prayer and said, “I’ll fix that preacher!” So he reached down and threw a brick as Wesley. As the brick fell harmlessly to the ground, Wesley got up and proclaimed “Thank God, his presence is still with me!”
Christianity isn’t for the faint-hearted.
The second point is found in verse 13 and 14. “But rejoice…ye may be glad also with exceeding joy…happy are ye.” Enjoy it, but remember, you can’t enjoy it in the flesh.
We should enjoy suffering because it shows that there is enough “glow” of the LORD that the devil hates it. It means you are doing something right. If the world embraces you, there is something wrong. Although enjoying suffering doesn’t make sense in the head, it does make sense in the deep relationship with Christ, insomuch that you ENJOY suffering for his name!
In Acts 5:41, after the apostles were beaten by the coucil for speaking in the name of Jesus, they “departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worth to suffer shame for his name.” Wow!
Now if you are sitting there thinking that this couldn’t persecution couldn’t happen in America, you probably need to know has been here before. In March of 1640 Rev. Obadiah Holmes of Rhode Islandwas whipped with thirty lashes for having a prayer meeting in his home. Holmes later said about the event: “Having joyfulness in my heart, and cheerfulness in my countenance, I told the magistrates, ‘You have whipped me with roses’.”
We should enjoy suffering because God allows it for a purpose (v19). Would God allow anything without a purpose? Romans 8:28. In verse 12, the work “fiery” means “smelted in a furnace”. God is refining us with suffering and only when we yield our lives to God can God work.
We should enjoy suffering because we glory in it. Romans 8:17-18 and II Corinthians 4:17-18.
Travail before children, exercise before strength, practice before beautiful music. When you get to the point where you don’t think you can do it anymore, the veil is rolled back, for God never puts on us more than we can bear.
We have no other purpose than to walk close to Jesus Christ.