1 Peter 4:12-16
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:…
Men are apt to fancy, in their misfortune, that it exceeds the usual measure, or comes in an extraordinary shape. They aggravate their suffering by surprise and disappointment. They make exaggerated estimates of it by self-tormenting reflections. It is too heavy to bear. We could submit to anything better than this. It is "strange" that the "fiery trial" should scorch just in this or that place, or should consume what they were specially anxious to preserve. It is "strange" that I should be prevented, deprived, disabled. "Strange" you call it.
1. And this word of yours implies, in the first place, that you are on the whole graciously dealt with; that the order of things which encircles you, and carries you forward, is on the whole merciful. For why else should you find fault with what afflicts you, as if it were a departure from that order? The hand of Providence — how much oftener it is open to give, than clenched to strike! Do you not prove yourselves unreasonable, there fore, if you chide with it, when it withholds your desire or admonishes you with its unwelcome dispensations? And this is one side of our subject that is worthy of attention. But there is another. It is, that the afflictions of life, though few when set by the side of the innumerable kindnesses that are so continuous as to be unregarded, are yet neither uncommon nor light. They form a regular part of the great system of heavenly appointments, in which we, with our changing circumstances and vanishing life, are included. They are more impartial than they are supposed to be. They spare none. They are not to be bought off by the opulent, nor fought off by the strong. "Think it not strange," so run the words of the apostle, "concerning the fiery trial that is to try you."
2. You there read what is the design in view. It is to prove and not to destroy you. You are tempted by pleasures and prosperity to see if you are weak enough to be seduced. You are searched by hurts and deprivations to see if you are strong enough to endure. If you are sick, secure the inward health that knows neither the fever of passion nor the consumption of care. If you are poor, learn to feel that everything else is destitution, if compared for a moment with the incorruptible wealth of conscious integrity, and the thoughts that turn confidingly towards God, and the substance that no reverses can make less.
(N. L. Frothingham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: