12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12
Peter’s task here was to warn his audience (and us) about persecution. In the West we are shielded and insulated from the stories of intense persecution. Most of those stories occur outside the West. For all the stories we do hear, however, know that there are hundreds or thousands of stories that will never ever get any press coverage or notoriety at all.
But persecution isn’t just about “them.” It’s about us, too. Don’t think that we won’t undergo a period of suffering as well. First it’s doctrinal changes within the Church. Then the government forces churches to accept doctrines that are anti-Biblical. If they don’t accept those changes, they’ll shut them down.
It’s closer than we think. But be forewarned. It’s on the horizon. These verses merely serve as a warning for us to get our house in order.