Today is “a date that will live in infamy.” On December 7th, 1941 the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaii Territory. We have visited this war memorial placed on the hull of the sunken Arizona battleship. How sobering to think of the 2,433 servicemen who lost their lives on that day. The Japanese chose to attack on a Sunday as they surmised that everyone would be more relaxed. And they were correct! Most men were still in their pajamas or eating breakfast and were caught totally off guard!
Today’s verse describes being off guard as well. We can be surprised by the negative reactions, the loss of employment, or the social shunning that could come from our testimony. These “fiery ordeals” or tests to our faith are a result of being a Christian. The opposition we may face for standing up for our beliefs should be expected. Instead of surprise, we are to react with joy at the prospect of sharing in the same kind of suffering the Lord Himself faced! He promises special blessing if we endure insult because of His name (vs. 14).
Even knowing this, I am still surprised at the vehemence and outright hostility to the name of Jesus Christ. As His own, I understand that it is directed at Him in me. And He took on such suffering for me that I have no reason to complain! But in facing opposition, it helps to expect it. To have joy through it is absolutely a gift from Him!
Lord, may I be faithful to Your name no matter what!