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Don’t Be Surprised by Painful Trials

December 1, 2019

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12 (NIV)

Remember, 1 Peter is a manual for discipleship. It tells you everything you need to know to live the Christian life.

Many people struggle in the Christian life for this reason: They are disappointed with God. One reason for this is that we set out with unbiblical and therefore unrealistic expectations.

Peter’s words make it clear that unrealistic expectations are not simply a contemporary problem; they were a problem even in the earliest days of the church. Some people who came to Christ experienced a painful trial and were surprised by it. They felt as if something strange was happening to them. They felt that painful trials did not belong in the life of a person who had chosen to follow Jesus Christ.

Their expectations were shaped by the mistaken assumption that if there is a loving God, we should experience a comfortable life. Peter says, “That’s a big mistake. Don’t be surprised by painful trials. This isn’t strange or unusual; it’s normal. This is what you should expect.”

Has a painful trial ever taken you by surprise? What happened? What kind of life do you think a Christian should expect to lead?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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