1 Peter 4:12-19 – Rejoicing in Suffering

Dear Christian, as you experience suffering in this life, remind yourself that it is not a reason for complaint, but rather for rejoicing. That may seem counterintuitive, but we can rejoice because our suffering is of benefit to our own soul. Whatever trial we are enduring is only a “slight momentary affliction preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Suffering prepares us for the next life (Romans 8:17). It refines us, molds us, and shapes us into the image of Christ (1 Peter 2:21). It tests our faith (1 Peter 1:7) and confirms to us that we are truly the children of God. It matures us in ways that could never be realized apart from trial… With this knowledge, we can joyfully endure the anguish of suffering, because we have a greater horizon in mind.

In addition, there is an empathy and wisdom that we gain through suffering that is a benefit to others. We are told that as we are comforted in our afflictions, we are enabled “to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4). Upon reflection, how often has this proven to be the case in our own lives?… In the body of Christ, we don’t just live for ourselves; in fact, we can’t. The Lord has united us into one body and the Head has dispensed His mercy, grace, love and comfort upon us. And as it is poured out upon us, it is to overflow our finite souls and splash upon those around us. You and I have been given such a rich treasure and we are invited by the example of Christ to give it to one another.

Finally, we are able to rejoice in our sufferings because of the God whom we serve.  Our afflictions are not by chance. They are not the result of chaos, or even fate. They are appointed by the sovereign hand of God. In a fallen world, a sovereign God’s providence is one of the surest comforts we have. He does not allow suffering for our ill, but for our very good. In only a way that a sovereign God could orchestrate, the sufferings of the body of Christ give Him glory. And God’s glory and our good are an interwoven garment.

Always remember, dear Christian, that in the face of trial, His face is not turned away (Psalm 121:4); when gripped with fear, you are still in the palm of His hands (John 10:28); when experiencing loss, you have all things in Him (Romans 11:36). When you are in the midst of trial and doubt creeps in and joy is fleeting, which we all experience at times, look back at God’s faithfulness through the years and even generations.

Suffer well, dear Christian. Endure the suffering that comes your way, but do more than even that — rejoice in the midst of it.

Jason Helopoulos

Read 1 Peter 4:12-19. Peter says to approach your suffering with rejoicing. This seems counter-intuitive, so what are the reason he gives in the text for how and why the believer can do this?

Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor by Matt Boswell

Posted on: January 26, 2017 - 10:00PM

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