For it is a commendable thing if, being aware of God, a person endures pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do good and suffer for it, this is a commendable thing before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:19-25
I think this passage requires some deep diving...some struggling even.
It sure feels as if suffering is something to be commended. I mean, it sounds like since Christ suffered, we should too and be grateful.
What was that phrase from the movie "Animal House?" "Thank you sir, may I have another?" (as Kevin Bacon's character says when he gets hit with a paddle).
I think Peter knew that the people he was talking to WERE going to suffer. In fact, they probably were suffering.
How do you lift the spirits of those who are definitely going to suffer? How do you acknowledge their pain while at the same time reminding them not to give up hope?
Telling them the truth, but telling it with a reminder that God knows exactly the pain they are experiencing.
Is it commendable to suffer for your faith? Yes...I suppose it is. But does that mean God wants us to suffer? No...I don't think it does.
But we will. Perhaps not as much as the early Christians suffered - by persecution and rejection of family. But we all will suffer. We all will grieve. We all will feel pain.
And we have a God who knows just what that is like.
Holy One, stand with me in my sufferings and help me to keep the faith and to hold on to hope. Amen