Throughout history, there have been many struggles for people – war, famine, sickness. Not just in the physical world, but in our emotions as well – heartbreak, anxiety, depression. Sometimes, our view of suffering needs to be refocused. In this day and age, we still have these struggles. Some are more magnified than ever before. In the book of First Peter, we get a look at how God has called us to respond to the suffering and hardships we go through. As always, God is good and we are called to a specific purpose in the midst of a fallen world. Here are four examples of what we are meant to think of in times of hardship:
- Expect suffering to happen
“The fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange things were happening to you.” – 1 Peter 4:12
This is the least exciting of them all. We often pray that God would keep us from the suffering, but in a fallen world this is going to happen. We should not look for it, or seek it in any way, but it will happen, and we need to be ready. When bad things happen to us, or our loved ones, it is not the overall will of God, but the result of a fallen world.
- You are blessed to suffer
“Even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled.” 1 Peter 3:14
We are blessed during this time of suffering. The biggest issue with this truth is that we stop looking for the blessing because of the pain. We should count our blessings as often as we can. They are numerous in the midst of a loving God.
- Keep God first
“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” 1 Peter 3:15
If we believe that His ways are higher than ours, then when trouble come, we can give an account of His plan and not ours. This can be tough because we see the simple ways to make everything right, but God sees the best ways to make everything right. Cling to God’s word as guidance, not on the advice of men that just try to hack the system of this world.
- Keep on Rejoicing
“But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad, with exceeding joy.” – 1 Peter 3:15
We praise the Lord often for the suffering that He endured for us. In this unfair world, we get the opportunity to suffer. I don’t praise the Lord because I suffer, I praise the Lord because I have the opportunity to share in His work. If we keep his ways higher than ours, there is always something to praise. If we focus in on the things that we don’t have, we won’t find thankfulness. We have been given more then we can ever deserve. Rejoice in the Lord always because He is good!
The subject of suffering is not a good one, but it is something that we will all know in this life. How we react during that time, will not only help define who we are, but will help define who God is to us.
Rene Solis is Director of Koinonia School of Ministry, a ministry of Koinonia Church, in Hanford, CA. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 559-582-1528.