Should disciples of Jesus be surprised with suffering?
The surprises along the way are God’s surprises. He is never caught off guard or unprepared. He calls me to follow him beyond the boundaries of my wisdom, strength and character.
The waiting I must do and the surprises that I face are meant by him to be tools of grace. They are designed to release me from my self-reliance and the hold my dreams for my life.
In those moments of surprise, it is important to remember that you may be confused, but God isn’t. In this moment when you are not sure what is going on, you haven’t been abandoned. No, the opposite is true: you are being rescued. But living this way is hard for us.
As pseudo-sovereigns, we hate waiting, disappointment, obstacles, and failure. We struggle to accept the fact that these things exist in a world that is under the wisest and most benevolent rule possible. C. S. Lewis comments that a hardy belief in the truths of discipleship makes your experience of pain more painful. It is bad enough to have to endure pain, but as a believer you must say that it was not an accident and that it was sent by a God who declares himself to be good!
- John 16:33 – “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
- Matthew 24:9 – “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name.”
- 1 Peter 4:12 —Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
- 1 John 3:13 —Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.