12Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 19So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.
1 Peter 4:12, 19 (NLT)
A young man was trying to establish himself as a peach grower. He had worked hard and invested his all in a peach orchard that blossomed wonderfully—then came a frost. He did not go to church the next Sunday, or the next, or the next. His preacher went to see him to find the reason. The young man exclaimed: “I’m not coming any more. Do you think I can worship a God who cares for me so little that He will let a frost kill all my peaches?”
The old country preacher looked at him a few moments in silence, then said kindly in a southern accent: “God loves you better than He does your peaches. He knows that while peaches do better without frosts, it is impossible to grow the best men without frosts. His object is to grow men, not peaches.”
This year will mark 21 years that I have been a follower of Jesus. One thing has held true over those two decades is that we will suffer or have frosts like the old country preacher would say. Every one needs to expect suffering. Throw out the window your “I’m a follower of Jesus” card because it doesn’t matter. Suffering doesn’t play favorites.
The good news is that God is always with us in our suffering. We can’t quit God. We need to keep doing what is right. This is from a man who experienced immense suffering. Peter is reminding us that God promises to do something great with your suffering. We can look back and see that it was worth it. God, in His infinite wisdom, sees who we can become so He uses suffering to grow us into wiser and stronger followers of Jesus.