Today’s reading is drawn from 1 Peter 3:17 and 1 Peter 4:19.
Suffering is not optional. We might wish it were. We spend millions of dollars to avoid it, ignore it and get immunized for it, but we can never be immune from it.
We mostly think of suffering as negative. And much suffering is synonymous with the consequences of sin or ignorance. But sometimes good comes from pain and suffering. A child is born into the world through pain. When we get a speck of dirt in our eye, pain signals us to do something about it before it does damage. When we have a virus, the pain signals a need for rest or medication before the disease turns into something deadly.
Pain and suffering are inevitable. However, Peter tells us in 3:17 that since we are going to suffer, we are to suffer for doing right. We can choose what we suffer for. We can suffer because we are doing evil, or we can suffer to give life.
We can suffer as a result of stupidity. We can suffer as a result of sin. Or we can choose to suffer. We can suffer for speaking the gospel or defending it. We can suffer for doing the right thing even though we are mocked or misunderstood. We can suffer by biting back angry words when something unfair occurs to us. We can choose to suffer with others when they are hurting, and it forces us to pray, learn, act and minister.
Father: I pray that when I suffer — and it is inevitable that I will — I will suffer in doing the right and the good. If I suffer, let me do so with a contrite heart — a heart that desires to follow you.