12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you … as though some strange thing were happening to you … (1 Peter 4).
The phrase “be surprised” could be translated “think it strange” since it comes from the same word for “stranger” or “strange thing” later in the verse. Thus, the English translation before us sounds less redundant, but I think it lacks the emphasis Peter intended. He wanted us to embrace the fact that Christians should never think of themselves as strangers to trials, nor trials as strangers to them. Thus, because we are not strangers to trials, and trials are not strangers to us—that would actually make us friends, of a sort, would it not?
Take heed. “Fiery ordeals” are coming! Indeed, they will always come! It is simply a part of life in a world where the evil one continues to usurp God’s rightful rule and authority, constantly casting his flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16) at all who dare to call on Christ, his enemy. The irony is, all those flaming arrows launched from our enemy—are actually our friends.
Lord, help us be ready for the trials that come our way, and should This Day be full of them, help us even to befriend them. Amen.