I have learned many things through suffering. I have learned God’s Word talks a lot about it and is clear. Reading 1 Peter the words hit me, “to this you were called.” I never realized I was called to suffer. I knew there would be hardships, but I did not realize my calling was to suffer. As a follower of Jesus, in Christ, and obedient to Him, I will suffer like Him. Wow. Who wants to go through trials and suffer? Are we really willing to suffer the price for being like Christ?
In the two worlds I am a part of I see the Western world does anything at all costs not to suffer. They will avoid pain or discomfort even though it may mean disobedience. They don’t want to be uncomfortable or let their children endure any kind of hurt. Their protection of themselves has isolated them the world around them that is in pain. God has called us to suffer – because He did and the world is. We can reach the world through their hurts.
Africa, I see the other side of the story. People live in suffering There
is poverty, sickness, witch craft, corruption, hunger, wars, widows and
orphans, drought and floods…for many all they know is suffering. Life is hard here. I have found people here associate with
Christ sufferings. They relate to Christ
though His sufferings. It is not
uncommon to hear one of our leaders preach that he would rather go hungry, have
no clothes, no money, suffer and have Jesus than to have everything without
Jesus. I am challenged by their
willingness, even joy!, suffering for Jesus.
Ok, so I believe God’s Word and so I am called to suffer. I have suffered this year. It was awful, but I want to be like Him through it. I know He Himself will restore me and make me strong.
Please take time to read each passage from 1 Peter below and allow God to talk to you. You too are called to suffer, but don’t worry – rejoice because you are in Christ!
In Christ you greatly rejoice, though for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. They have come that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:6-7
*My source of joy in suffering is in Christ. My faith, which is worth more than gold!, is being refined to see if it is real. The result is praise. I love Him even though I can’t see Him and I believe Him. That brings joy – the goal of our faith, salvation.
But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.
‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.’
When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:20-22
*I just had to highlight all of these verses. How powerful! God commends us when we endure suffering. Christ suffered for us and so we are called to do the same (to reach the world). Jesus left us an example to follow while suffering. He set the standard high and was totally counter cultural and against human nature. So when you suffer be ready to fight against every internal instinct and obey your Lord. Be quiet, do not retaliate, make no threats, and most important – entrust yourself to God who will judge justly.
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear.
1 Peter 3:8-9 and 13-14
*Do not repay hurt for hurt, wrong for wrong, insult for insult…don’t stoop to their level. You are mad by the lies, injustice, and hurt by the consequences of the wrong done to you, BUT give back blessing instead. That is hard! I had to pray and ask God to work in others and bless them. I did not retaliate, I gave it to God.
Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude.
1 Peter 4:1
*Attitude. It begins in your mind. How I think is known to God and will effect what I do. We aren’t to follow only what Christ did while suffering but to think like he did. We are to have His attitude – humble, submitted, trusted in His Father, and loved!
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
1 Peter 4:12-16
*This gives me a new perspective on suffering. Don’t be surprised to go through pain but be surprised if you don’t! I can rejoice through it because I am in the sufferings of Christ. If I am insulted because of Christ name I am blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on me! Did you hear that? God rests on me! I am not ashamed to suffer as a Christian but praise God I bear His name!
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen!
1 Peter 3:10-11
*And here is the promise, after suffering a little while God Himself will restore me. He will make me strong, firm and steadfast. That’s how I get through it all, He is with me and makes me strong and firm. Hold on to His promises! He has the power now and forever.
One last thought, has God taught me through our trials – yes – but it will still be hard and I will cry through the next suffering. I am not minimizing pain – it is real. But so is God. He is true. I also know that my suffering is so small compared to my Christian brothers and sisters around the world giving their lives for their faith. When I hear about Christians imprisoned, tortured, enslaved, their children’s heads cut off…I cry. The body of Christ is suffering! We are part of His body with them. I am so blessed! I need to pray for those truly suffering for Christ. We need to talk about it in our churches, with friends, challenge one another to pray and do something. We all need to stand up for their rights and protection. There are many Christian doing this in our government and agencies providing away for you to help make a stand. Let’s do our part to love the body of Christ suffering.