The book of Peter has much to say about suffering. Sometimes we might suffer because of our own choices. Sometimes we suffer just because we live in a fallen world. Sometimes we might suffer because we represent Christ and someone else hates Christ. In only the first case, do we have any choice in the matter of suffering. We could have made other choices that didn’t have suffering as consequences. But no matter why we are suffering, Peter tells us this:
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. I Peter 4:19
A mom who has experienced multiple losses shared this verse with me this week. As I meditated on these words I saw -
- If our suffering is not by our choice, it is by God’s choices and plans. It’s by His will or, least, within it.
- The suffering is really suffering. We shouldn’t minimize it thinking “it’s not so bad.”
- That our response should be to commit ourselves. That means to promise and to obey and to be willing to follow Him, even when we don’t understand. It means to not leave Him in a huff of indignation and selfishness.
- Commit themselves – wholly, body, soul and mind. It means I will follow, and it doesn’t matter whether someone else does or not. I must go His way.
- It’s the Creator we are talking about - the One who made us and knows us and loves us anyway. The One who made plans for our lives and our redemption from before we were even born. He made and sustains His created universe including me and the one who died too.
- He is faithful to His promises, His word, His character. He doesn’t change with the winds of cultural change. You can rely on Him because of that.
- And He is their Creator. It’s personal. He is mine and I am His.
- Do good, no matter what the circumstances. Doing – means activity, not being passive, but being involved in life and culture. Good means good – beneficial to others, constructive, being as Christ’s ambassadors in our neighborhoods.
- Continue doing good. Keep on keeping on. No excuses. Do the next thing and the one after that too.
I was blessed by meditating on the verse that has meant so much to this friend of mine. She continues to do good, even after her losses. Others, like me, see Christ in her and ask her for the reason for the hope within her - Jesus’ love and the promised, prepared home in eternity where there is no more pain or crying.