READ : 1 Peter 4:12-19
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering. (v. 12 NIV)
You may know the word crucible from the title of a play by Arthur Miller, The Crucible.
The word itself comes out of the laboratory, describing a container for melting and
purifying metal under great heat. The word has become synonymous with a severe test, or a
place in which various forces have interacted to cause tremendous stress. The crucible is
a time of sifting, testing, purifying, learning to take the heat. In Miller’s play the
crucible is the village of Salem, the home of strict, God-fearing Puritans, and the
witchcraft trials provided the heat to test and sift them.
Dear friends, says Peter, do not be surprised that you are in a place of testing, that
your faith and faithfulness are experiencing stress and fierce attacks. For Peter, indeed
for the whole New Testament, the entire time between Christ’s resurrection and his return
is a crucible. We make our home and live our lives in the crucible.
Therefore be prepared. Arm yourselves with Christ and suit up each day for spiritual
battle. As the philosopher Peter Kreeft observed, “There is nothing outside heaven except
hell. Earth is not outside heaven, it is heaven’s workshop, heaven’s womb.” We are being
made in the crucible. The genuineness of our faith, more precious than gold, is being
purified each day.
Therefore, let us “commit [ourselves] to [our] faithful Creator and continue to do
good” (4:19 NIV).
Holy Spirit, make us strong to stand our ground. Amen.