Sometimes the deepest pain we receive comes from those of whom we love the most. Life’s battles have a way of testing us, shaping us and (at times) even hardening us to life’s difficulties. Peter reminds his readers that they shouldn’t be surprised when faced with difficulties this side of eternity. 1 Peter 4: 12-13 says, “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange thing were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” Jesus reminded his disciples in John 16:33 that in this life we will have tribulations, but to be of good cheer because he has overcome the world. I don’t know about you, but I’m not one who generally rejoices over heartache. Even if I were to try to fake it, I’d fail miserably because too often I wear my emotions on my sleeve. It’s not that we’ve been called to “pretend” all is well in the midst of our trials. Jesus wept in the midst of his. What makes us think we’re stronger than he is? The only way he could endure the cross was to look forward to what awaited him once the cross served its purpose. Jesus wasn’t a masochist. He didn’t enjoy the humiliation and shame of the cross. He DESPISED it. But, joy awaited Jesus after Satan had his day. Soon the Son of God would be reunited with His Father in heaven. The joy we experience must be of such that we look forward to what awaits us once this life is over. That doesn’t mean we can’t experience joy in this life. It only means that the joy that we have to look forward to in the life to come isn’t even worth comparing to the life we have now. (Rom. 8: 13).
Have a blessed day and remember the One who gave it to you. Kevin
Kevin Lough is the minister at the Whitehall Church of Christ in Fairmont WV.