1 Peter 1:3-8(NIV) - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed...
I think this is a beautiful thought about our hope, our inheritance, and how our suffering becomes a part of the story of our inheritance. Life will ask us to suffer. Those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ, courageously enter into this suffering. I write the following in DEATH, HOPE, & THE LAUGHTER OF GOD... We don’t suffer because we enjoy it, but because we know it is the way of Jesus. We don't do it because we believe God needs us to suffer in order to love us. He just loves. This love will draw us into relationship with Him. And this love will set us on the way of suffering in one sense or the other. Not because God wills our suffering, but because in the face of such selfless love, the systems of the world will make us suffer:
• The wife, in the midst of a difficult marriage who becomes a follower of Jesus, will suffer the ridicule of her husband who says, “She’s become a fanatic.”
• The employee, who honestly reports all his earnings, suffers by paying more in taxes than those who are dishonest.
• The non-profit organization, attempting to bring attention to the plight of the world’s remote areas, suffers through the corruption and difficulty of doing so.
• The candidate, who seeks to change current political systems, suffers the wrath of those who want to maintain status quo.
I do not, in all of this, mean to glamorize suffering. Nor do I mean to perpetuate the age-old lie that for us to have a relationship with God, we must earn it by suffering. Rather, what we learn along the way, is suffering with God is inevitable. This takes great courage. Courage by grace helps us through the suffering, offers healing, but keeps us squarely on a path requiring our willingness to once again suffer. But, the suffering strengthens us, and the suffering ultimately points to Christ. When we see Christ the story of our inheritance will be at once complete, and also the beginning of a whole new story!