How Can We Trust God in our Suffering?
1 Peter, Day 24
But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
- 1 Peter 4:15-19, ESV
My son, Jeremiah, is running cross-country this year. I'm proud of him, because he doesn't really like running. But he has determination, and determination is at the heart of cross-country running. My older son, Andrew, is playing football. After his last game, his right arm and shoulder were covered in scratches and bruises. In other words, he looked like a football player.
If you're going to run cross-country, you need determination. If you're going to play football, you need to accept scratches and bruises. And if you're going to honor God as a Christian, you need to trust God. Faith is the essence of the Christian life. As Hebrews 11 says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." (Heb. 11:6)
So, in our suffering as believers, the primary way we bring glory to God is by entrusting our souls to Him. But how can we trust God, knowing that our suffering is both undeserved and comes to us according to God's will?
Well, we can glorify God by trusting Him by remembering three key things:
1. God has given us His name.
2. God will one day judge all, and our suffering is, in some ways, just the beginning of judgment.
3. God is faithful. He never breaks any of His promises.
So, we begin with he glorious truth that God has placed His name on us. He has adopted us into His family. He has made us His own. We don't deserve this, and while it does bring suffering, it also brings a permanent place in God's family as His dearly loved children forever.
Then, as we think on the promises of God, we consider that He has promised to judge the nations one day. Everyone will be judged. If we think the suffering we endure now for the name of Jesus is terrible, imagine what is coming on Judgment Day for the enemies of God. Then, consider that we deserve that same judgment, but we have been spared by God's grace.
Finally, we need to see that God never breaks His promises, that He is faithful. He has actually promised us suffering. But He has also promised us glory with Him after our time of suffering ends.
These three truths can fuel our faith in God in the midst of suffering, and it is only by faith in Him that we will persevere in doing good, according to His will, even as we continue to suffer, also according to His will.