On a recent horseback riding adventure, my husband got the “privilege” of riding the unpredictable one! This unruly horse would bolt and even nudge mine, causing my horse to kick back at him. Unfortunately, he missed, kicking my husband’s shin instead! Bolting up the embankment of a stream he decided to stop suddenly, throwing my poor husband over his head and to the ground! Thankfully, he was able to successfully break his fall, only bruising his ribs and his ego! It happened so quickly, we were all surprised!
Our verse for today tells believers not to be surprised at the hard times we suffer. They are not the exception, but the norm. We are not exempt from difficulties, although sometimes we think we should be. We get used to an easy gait and get lulled into thinking that an easy life is our right and privilege as God’s own. Then something sudden happens and we are surprised! Rather than holding on, the ordeal unseats us.
The “fiery ordeal” in this verse is not something that is caused by our own wrong choices. It is an ordeal that comes from living as a believer in an unbelieving world. Rather than be surprised at the negative reactions, I am told to rejoice that I can participate in some small measure what Jesus faced. I can expect that others will heap abuse on me (I Peter 4:4). I am not ever to be surprised if the world hates me (I John 3:13). This testing of my faith is never very comfortable!
Help me Lord, to stay faithful to You, even when it is hard.