“… Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:41)
Peter and the other apostles had been preaching the Gospel and many Israelites believed that Jesus is the Christ who died for their sin and rose again in accord with their own Scriptures. This brought a rough response from the religious leaders of the day with the result that Peter and the others were imprisoned and beaten before being let go. Instead of complaining that Jesus had not protected them from such people and action they rejoiced that their Saviour had judged them worthy to join Him in His suffering. They had done nothing wrong and they most certainly did not seek or provoke such treatment.
Job was not asked if he would consent to go through the fiery trial that we can read in the book bearing his name. We read his account from the perspective of knowing the outcome but why don’t you put yourself in his place next time you read Job? He did not know why these terrible events had come his way and neither did he know the outcome.
His property and livelihood were stripped from him; his children were killed until he had just his life and his wife. Then his body became covered in boils, his friends falsely accused him and his wife turned against him until there was just himself and God. This was where God had wanted him.
At no time did Job change his view of God even though he did not know why God had allowed him to suffer in the extreme. Neither did he accuse God of dealing in an unrighteous or unloving way.
As it was for Peter and the apostles, and for Job, the Lord knew their faith would withstand the extreme ordeals they experienced. It wasn’t a test to determine if they had faith but rather a revelation of the great faith they had. This revelation brought glory to God. The experience thrust them more on God’s grace with the result their faith was strengthened further by the experience.
To seek suffering would be lunacy and some suffering may be because of our own sin and wickedness but when the Lord allows His precious saints to suffer it is to reveal and strengthen their faith.
When we get to the end of ourselves we are in the best possible place. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” The danger is that we will yield to Satan’s temptation to accuse and turn from God and become bitter and angry with Him. Job’s wife encouraged him to take that path because she had already done so. She had lost all her children as well but instead of revealing faith in the Divine Nature she revealed a distinct lack of faith and bitterness toward God.
However, by God’s grace trials and suffering can turn to the sweetest revelation of Jesus Christ to us as it did for Job, Peter and the apostles. They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer.