“12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” NIV
‘The consequence of having seen God is madness, not in the sense that one becomes mentally ill, no, but that a kind of madness is set between you and others: people cannot nor will not understand you.’ Soren Kierkegaard.
No-one, naturally-speaking, wants to be persecuted for their faith. But no-one should ‘’be surprised’’ if they are. It is to be expected.
Here is a pattern we find in the New Testament: Suffering first – then glory. We see the principle exemplified in Jesus. As He said to the two on the way to Emmaus:
‘’Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’’ (Luke 24:26).
The glory is, ultimately, resurrection beyond death (Easter Sunday following Good Friday). But Peter writes about a foretaste of that glory even now for those suffering for their faith (14).
Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, pronounced a special blessing on the persecuted. It’s counter-intuitive to want to have a hard life. Who would? But many who go through the mill for their faith testify to this special blessing, and they wouldn’t trade it for anything.