Commentary By: Gordon King
Life can be very difficult at times, all of us will suffer from some sort of calamity in our lives, and for believers in Jesus Christ it is no different just because we are saved. In fact, I would argue that we will suffer even more than those of the world.
Even though we don’t understand it, there is a reason for our suffering, just as Christ suffered in this world we will suffer also!
1 Peter 4:12-13
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
We should be glad with exceeding joy when we endure fiery trials, not of the suffering in and of itself, but of the glory of Christ which is revealed afterwards!
It is when we are brought low that we come to the foot of the cross, when we are broken that we seek the Lord. When all seems lost then we are able to fully humble ourselves and cry out to God “Abba, Father!” with a sincere heart. It is at these times when we build our relationship even more with God, when we become more Christ-like, it is a process of being molded into Christ’s image.
When we are suffering we must seek the Lord, we must listen to His voice and hear what He is telling us. There is much to gain from suffering, a better relationship with God, more knowledge of God, more understanding of God and His ways, more faith in God. And although we may not see it at the time the Lord is attempting to bring us closer to Himself!
God loves us so much and He doesn’t want us to suffer, however He also knows that we live in a fallen world, a world which has been infected with sin. Suffering can cleanse us from unrighteousness, it sifts us from the inside out, breaking us down then building us back up, removing what is bad and replacing it with what is good to be more like Christ.
Suffering can strengthen our faith in God if we allow it to. It shows us that God is who He says that He is, that He will never leave us nor forsake us!
Scripture tells us that we will go through fiery trials which will try us, these trials are not ordinary run of the mill trials, but fiery trials! These are trials which will bring us to our knees in repentance, seeking mercy and grace from the Lord, they are intense.
If we take a look back in scripture then we can see an example of this fiery trial in the book of Daniel.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace.”
These righteous men of God were being executed for not bowing down and worshiping idols, and in fact thrown into a furnace seven times hotter than it normally is heated. And when King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace he saw not three men but four!
‘ “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” ‘
This is an example in scripture of us also going through fiery trials when we worship God Almighty! When we have faith in Jesus Christ then we know that He will always be with us even during fiery trials. These righteous men of God had faith that God would protect them, that He would see them through, that He would be with them. They did not cower down to the ways of the world but rather held fast in their faith, stood firm in their convictions. It is the testing of our faith, the building of our faith, and the demonstration of our faith in God!
When we endure fiery trials and tribulations then after we come through them without a scratch we also demonstrate to the world that who and what we believe in has power! It will make people think twice about the existence of God and the power of His might!
Jesus Christ was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego during their fiery trial, and He is with us during ours as well! This is just one example in scripture where God is telling us not to worry, not to be afraid, not to fear, but trust in God. He is telling us that if we have placed our trust and faith in Him and Him alone then He will be with us and will see us through trials and tribulations in our life, through intense fiery trials!
We will suffer in this world as Christ suffered, we will partake in His sufferings.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.“
Our sufferings not only build us up in Christ and make us more Christ-like, they also give us wisdom and understanding so that we may comfort others going through similar trials in their lives. Even as Christ comforts us we are to comfort others.
Our faith in God is to know that He is with us, to know that if we are saved then He will see us through even the most intense trials!
God bless my friends! Maranatha!