Adversity comes to those who are making a difference for Christ.
Missionary statesman Oswald Chambers once wrote, “Suffering is the heritage of the bad, of the penitent, and of the Son of God. Each one ends at the Cross. The bad thief is crucified, the penitent thief is crucified, and the Son of God is crucified. By these signs we know the widespread heritage of suffering.”
If there is a common thread running through the human race it is the thread of suffering. Every person has trials and challenges that are unexpected. This was especially true for the Christians in the first century.
These Christians put their faith in the resurrected Christ in the midst of a Roman culture that didn’t allow anyone to give obeisance to a god other than Caesar. The Roman government ruled with an iron fist, and the emperor Nero persecuted anyone who gave allegiance to Jesus Christ.
History records that during this time the games of the Coliseum were popular. Many times, Christians were imprisoned and sent to battle lions or gladiators in the Coliseum as sport for the Roman citizens to watch. Truly, if any Christians have known suffering, the first century Christians went through incredible persecution and suffering for the faith.
Adversity comes and goes in all our lives. It’s like taking a rock in your hand, walking to a perfectly still pond, throwing the rock into the middle of the pond and seeing the sudden disturbance of the water. The ripples made by that rock in the water stretch out and affect the entire pond. When adversity comes into our lives, the ripple effect of that trial may last a week, a month, or an entire lifetime. No matter the amount of time, adversity does affect our lives.
In our verses today, Peter was writing to the Christians who were scattered throughout what is modern-day Turkey. He was assuring them that God had a reason and a purpose for the trials that had entered their lives.
While it may not be physical persecution or the possibility of death, suffering for the cause of Christ still happens to many Christians. Whether it’s ridicule at work or rejection by others, many Christians still face adversity today.
So how can we experience victory during times of adversity? What caused the first century Christians who were persecuted for their faith to have joy and peace during times of suffering? When adversity or suffering enters your life, seek refuge in the promises of God’s Word. The peace that many early Christians felt came from quoting Scripture, singing spiritual songs, and meditating on God’s promises.
Are you facing adversity? Spend time with God now. Meditate on His Word and let Him fill you with His peace. Claim Philippians 4:7 as you go about your day today, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Source: Daily in the Word, July 24, 2008