Reflections on Joy . . . and Suffering


19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:19-21)

A few weeks ago, Daniel Nemmers preached a sermon, LiveStream of course, 1 Peter 2:11-3:7. Not only that but my church recently began a series through the book of James. In other words, the idea of joy in the midst of suffering has been on my mind a lot over the past few weeks. I don’t claim to be an expert at suffering well nor do I claim to have suffered much at all in my life. Yet, the upsidedown nature of what suffering accomplishes in the life of the believer is absolutely incredible. My heart has been encouraged, yet again,  by the reminder that suffering — no matter if it is big or small — is never wasted. Below are a few of my reflections from 1 Peter 19-21.

I am so thankful to know that I have a good Father who loves me and is making me more and more like Jesus every day. I know: (1) when I suffer undeservedly I am identifying with Jesus, (2) suffering is not only a good gift that I can face with joy, (3) but it is also working an eternal weight of glory. 

Every moment of suffering that you experience in the path of following Christ is working something in you and preparing an eternal weight of glory that is yet to be revealed. (STOP) That is a life-changing truth! Life is too short and that return of Jesus too near to complain about the good gift of suffering that God has given. 

Suffering is a good gift because it gives believers the opportunity to pray for an enemy, follow Jesus’ example, be blessed when they are reviled and don’t retaliate, show love and forgiveness to those who are hard to love — even if that person never realizes it. Every action that you and I take in the path of obedience will be worth it. It’s not wasted. Hold on to that truth today! 

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