1 Peter 4:12
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery
trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened
When some of my kids first began to act out in destructive ways, my
Mom was shocked and said, “I would have expected this from almost
any of the children except yours.” Really? Why would she have
thought my living for the Lord would keep bad things from happening?
Perhaps our being active in our church and the kids attending a
Christian school caused her to think our family was exempt from any
kind of trouble. If she thought that, she was wrong and incredibly
But are we so different? Your problems may not be the same as mine,
but all of us are facing something difficult. Maybe you’ve lost your
job and you’re facing a financial crisis. You may have been
diagnosed with cancer or even buried someone you love. If you’re
like me, you’ve spent some time wondering how and why this is
happening to you.
You may have heard your husband’s profession of faith or dedicated
your children to God when they were babies. Your family may have
been active in church, and all of you may be spiritual leaders in
the church, the school and the community. You’re certain you have
done your best to live in an honorable way for the God you love. And
you might be saying, “Why me? Why my family? Why my kids?”
While it’s understandable if you have to be there in your mind…at
least for a while…it really isn’t productive.
1 Peter 4:12 addresses
the question of “Why” by telling us not to consider it strange when
we are facing a difficult situation…Peter calls it a “fiery trial”
and says we shouldn’t act like “some strange thing has happened to
And if you I take some time to think about it, why should we be
exempt or be surprised? We live in a fallen world, and the people we
love are just as likely to fail as anyone else. Diseases, which are
part of everyone’s life, could as easily happen to us. The truth is
bad things…sometimes even terrible things…happen, and we almost
never have a choice about those things.
What we do have a choice about is how we’re going to respond when
those things happen. Because they are going to happen. There are so
many parts of my own personal losses and hurts completely out of my
control, it can be reassuring to know there are some things, which
are in my control.
One of those things, which is entirely within my control, is how I’m
going to respond when I’m forced to walk a difficult path. The worst
thing I’ve ever had to face was losing my son Buddy, so I know how
wrenching pain and loss can rip your heart out. I know I’ll see my
son again in the “sweet by and by,” but knowing doesn’t make it
easier to live in the “awful here and now.”
So, I’m not going to minimize the pain and grief and sorrow we face
when terrible things happen. I’ve been there, broken in my spirit.
I’m still sometimes there, and it’s a difficult journey. But whether
my mindset is going to be, “Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech,
that I dwell in the tents of Kedar" (Psalm 120:5) or “Rejoice in the
Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phil 4:4) is totally up to
I’m not saying I do it perfectly because I don’t. Saying “it’s
better than it was” in no way implies my heart isn’t still broken or
I'm not grieving. But my losses are easier for me to face when I
focus on my own reactions and make them actions. I can help myself
by choosing to rejoice in what I still have instead of constantly
grieving what I’ve lost.
Changing my focus helps me find the strength to face my
circumstances with the poise and dignity of an adult. It still
hurts, sometimes more than I think I can bear. But it’s better than
facing losses with the helpless and overwhelming grief of a child.
Challenge for Today: What might happen if we, just for today, chose
to spend less time grieving our losses and more time rejoicing in