1 Peter 4:12
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.
Do not be surprised. This is to say that we are to expect what we are not to be surprised by. It is interesting that we who live in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death would consider trials and tribulations to be strange. It is quite strange that we who breathe the very atmosphere of struggle and suffering would think it strange when we taste of it's bitterness. It would not be unlike a fish who finds it strange that it is surrounded by water.
Heavy hearts and brokenness are constant companions for we who dwell in the land of sin, live with the people of sin, and indeed even battle with the sin in our own hearts. Thanks be to God that we are not left with only this dark canvass to behold. For even in the next few verses of 1st Peter a glorious hope is unleashed:
1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
1 Peter 5:10-11
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Here again I find the blessed tension between sorrow and rejoicing. Although we experience sorrow in many ways we are overwhelmingly blessed with the gaze-shifting magnitude of hope. This medicine called hope is found all over the Scriptures. Hope focuses upon God and His magnificent promises and refuses to consider only that which may be seen with physical eyes in the here and now.
Jesus plainly advises that we will indeed encounter tribulation, but He does not leave us there. Highlighting His purchase of this unspeakable hope, Jesus encourages us by reminding us what it was that He accomplished:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
We have been graced with this sustaining hope because He has overcome the world. Were it not for His overcoming act we would all be left only ever to behold the dark canvass that presently surrounds us.