By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When we find ourselves suffering, we may discover ourselves questioning God’s plan. This is especially true when we feel we have been suffering for an extended period of time. I think we all understand that bad things happen to good people, but we feel it should pass at some point. When the time of what we consider “reasonable” expires, we can grow impatient and wonder why is this happening. We may wonder if God is pleased with us, or if He is trying to provoke a change in our life; but sometimes suffering comes by chance as it “rains on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Sometimes suffering come by way of the people we associate with and the situations we put ourselves in; and yes suffering can come because God is trying to get our attention.
1 Peter 4:19 (ESV): Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Even though we may find ourselves suffering while here on earth, we should find comfort if our soul is right with the Lord. The faithful understand in a world full of sin that suffering is a part of life. While peace and happiness on earth is promised to no one, it is promised to those who are faithful until death (Revelations 2:10).
1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV): Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
The Apostle Peter encourages the church by first making sure the church understood that trials are going to come. Jesus Christ himself said the world will hate His followers because the world hated Him first (John 15:8). Peter’s response to suffering is the same response we find throughout Scripture - focus on the eternal reward. It is like any lesson we face; we will not remember the journey when we attain the reward. We tell our children to eat their vegetables first so they can get a dessert. While they are focusing on the vegetables, they are unable to understand and appreciate the reward waiting for them. Sometimes, our children will handle the trial so poorly, they put their reward at risk. It is important we keep in mind our reaction to the various trials we face. Our reaction will not affect whether or not we have the trial, it can only affect whether or not we get our reward. Just like our children’s reaction doesn’t affect whether they will have to eat the vegetables, it only affects whether they get the dessert. Let us be mindful and focus on the reward, understanding that suffering for Christ’s sake is a badge of honor we should feel privileged to partake in.