Recently I watched a classic movie that took me back to several of my great cinematic memories of my youth: Ghostbusters. I remember my brothers and I spending hours playing with the movie action figures, zapping imaginary ghosts and saving imaginary cities. But along with that masterpiece of the silver screen came one of the catchiest soundtracks ever. In fact, all I have to do is type the words: “There’s something strange…” and some of you will be tormented with that tune for the rest of the day.
It was that song that came to mind when I read these verses from 1 Peter 4:12-13:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
When trials come our way, if often feels like “something strange” has visited our neighborhood. All we know is that this unwelcome visitor doesn’t belong and we want him out of here immediately! But the apostle Peter reminds us that we shouldn’t think of the appearance of trials in our life as some sort of unusual phenomena. In this context, the Christians were facing severe and harsh persecution for being Christians. That was their only crime: following Jesus. Yet God reminded them that the mistreatment they were facing allowed them to share in Christ’s suffering and was fuel to kindle their spiritual growth. James reminds us:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).
So the next time trials show up in your part of town (be it sickness, financial struggles or good old fashioned mistreatment for your faith), remember that it’s not simply an inconvenience but an instrument that God wants to use to mature your walk with Him.