“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 Pet. 4:12–13


Lord Jesus, this portion of your Word comes like a heavenly hug this March Monday—though, like kids, we sometimes pull away from even from your “hugs”. Suffering(s) between your resurrection and return shouldn’t surprise us, but focus, free, and form your heart in us.

The “testing” of “fiery ordeals” isn’t like a pass-or-fail math test (hallelujah!), but a “mercy test”—a burning away of the dross of our selfishness and “earthbound-ness.” If we “miss-steward” (waste) suffering, it can easily become rocket fuel for fear, resentment, and unbelief. But the “way of the Gospel” is for hardship and heartache to deepen empathy and compassion in us, and make us more like you, Jesus.

This isn’t making lemonade from lemons, or becoming “glass-half-full” people. It’s “participating in your sufferings” —for you are present wherever there is injustice and disease, brokenness and suffering, loss and lack. Gentle us to join you there, fellowship with you there, and serve with you there (Phil. 3:10). Give us joy in our tears and peace in our pain. Supersize our love as we come along side of fellow sufferers.

Lord Jesus… thank you… you suffered once and for all for us on the cross, reconciling us forever to our Father. The Day of no more suffering of any kind is coming (Rev.21:1–5), and what a Day of “overjoy” that will be. So Very Amen.