“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:19).
There are times when God does not deliver the faithful disciple from suffering, from hard times, from disappointments, even from death. Faithful prayers fervently rise to the throne of God. Scriptures promising deliverance are read, prayed, believed. Suffering does not end. Death comes.
In such times the apostle Peter encourages continuing commitment and obedience to God, our faithful Creator. More, Peter calls us to rejoice in the midst of suffering. “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). We see beauty in the death of the leaves. Peter wants us to see in our sufferings an intimacy with Christ, sharing with Him, having fellowship with Him. In this fellowship with Christ we are able to rejoice for we know there is coming a time when His glory will be revealed, a glory we will share in eternity. From the ashes we will rise and know a joy beyond description.
In such times of sharing with Christ in his sufferings our sufferings are redeemed. Satan brings suffering upon us to mock the name of Christ which we bear. He seeks to mock our faith in Christ as foolishness. In bearing the name of Christ, being faithful to that name, in the midst of suffering, our faith is not mocked. Rather, as we share in the sufferings of Christ the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us. Christ strengthens us to persevere in confidence and hope. Suffering redeemed. Suffering, a time to know intimacy with Christ. Suffering, a time to humbly and bravely bear the name of Christ. Suffering, a time to bear witness to the steadfast love and faithfulness of God in Christ Jesus.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:12-13).