“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” (1 Peter 4:12).
We can be certain of God’s love for us, no matter how unexpected or difficult any trial might be. Reassuring words are vital as we strive to deal with trials and sufferings in our Christian lives. Peter opens with a pastoral term (“beloved”) that conveys tenderness, love, and concern for his audience. It reinforces in a single word the concepts of fervent love for one another and love that covers sin (1 Peter 4:8). Such love is a welcome reality to lean on whenever anyone is undergoing suffering or persecution.Trials can easily tempt us to be discouraged and doubt God’s love. In Peter’s time the emperor Nero coated many, including children, in pitch and used them as human torches. With such cruel persecution going on, we can see why Peter wrote to fellow Christians—which includes us—to reassure them of God’s love. We should not be surprised at our trials, they should be seen as part of life. They might catch us off guard at first, but we can confidently deal with them, knowing that God’s loving care for us never fails.