Every May 1 for the last ten years, my friend Katherine has heard a knock on her door. She opens the door and feigns surprise when she finds flowers, calling out so the hiding children can hear: “What is this? Who could have left these here?”
My children cover their mouths to stifle their giggles, then nod at each other that it’s time. They run out shouting, “It’s us! Happy May Day!”
Katherine knows we’re coming every May 1. The tradition started more than three decades ago when I hid behind a tree in her front yard every May Day, holding back my laughter as she wondered loudly who left the flowers at her door.
Just as our May Day visit is no surprise to Katherine, God’s Word says our suffering should be no surprise to us. We saw two weeks ago in John 16:33 that Jesus told the disciples to expect trouble in this world. One of those disciples later wrote about suffering to believers who were experiencing it:
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. (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Be encouraged, friend. We can face suffering without fear, because God isn’t scrambling to figure out what went wrong. He’s not surprised or caught off guard by the trial that’s come upon you. He has a plan to use it for your good and for His glory, which will be fully revealed when Christ returns. You can rejoice because Christ suffered for you, so that one day you will be free of suffering forever.
No matter what you face this week, God is not surprised by your suffering.
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