To God Be The Glory
1 Peter 2:21-25 New Living Translation (NLT)
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
Peter is the disciple who, when push came to shove, denied knowing Christ the night before Jesus was crucified. Peter was afraid for his life, and with good reason. Jesus himself was being tried on trumped up charges and was facing death. Peter wanted to know what was happening so he couldn’t stay away. Yet he also could not declare himself a believer at the risk of his life.
So Peter, denies him three times. Even after being warned by Jesus that he would do exactly that and vehemently denying it.
After the resurrection, Jesus had a little heart to heart with Peter and forgave him. And he charged him to “feed His sheep.”
Years later, Peter wrote the above passage. He was able now to say that suffering for Christ was not only a maybe but a probably. We are called to do good, even if it means suffering. Suffering is not a very American thing. We want to work hard and be rewarded with financial security. We want to work in our yards and on our houses and cars and to be rewarded with nice things. We want there to be a fair, just reward for the hard things that we do. But sometimes, there is no reward.
I remember my niece, who was then around 9, yelling “That’s not fair!” We all want fairness. But at this time, in this season of our lives, things aren’t fair. Low wage employees are having to work and risk illness. Some people get COVID 19 and do ok, while others have long term effects and others die. People suffer and die without loved ones being present. There is a lot of suffering in our world right now, and it isn’t fair.
One question that comes from this passage is how can I suffer through this in a way that brings glory to God? How can our shelter in place or essential business lives show that we have turned to our Shepherd and that our trust lies in Him?