1 Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
When bad things happen in life, we usually ask “Why did God allow this to happen?” Although this is a natural response, Peter tells us that this is not correct. In fact, he says that our response should be the complete opposite. We should not be surprised at sufferings, and we should rejoice in them. How could a man, especially one as acquainted with suffering as Peter, tell others to rejoice? Why wasn’t Peter angry and fed up with all the suffering that he had already endured? Hadn’t he been flogged enough?
Peter rejoiced in sufferings because he understood one simple fact. Jesus was greater than his troubles and would one day return again. In John 16:33, Jesus told the apostles, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!”
Peter understood that Jesus is greater than any trial he could have ever faced. All things of this earth will pass away. Jesus, however, will never pass away, and all the rejoicing that will take place at Jesus’ return will far outweigh any present trials.
Acts 5 describes an occasion where Peter acted this out in his own life. After being jailed and flogged, he and the other apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Even in such severe pain, Peter and the other apostles knew that the suffering would soon end, but Jesus’ love would never end. That gave them a great reason to rejoice!