– Paul Chappell
How can we suffer and still have God accomplishing His will? Hopefully, you can find out how in this devotional.
Being Blessed for Suffering Persecution
Peter wrote that “even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed” (1 Pet. 3:14), so suffering can actually bring blessing and being blessed is God’s will just as much as suffering is. If you told someone on the street that it is God’s will for us to suffer if His will is being done, they’d probably wonder what’s wrong with you, but, truly, everything is right about you if you know this! Surely, it’s a lot “better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3:17).
Sharing in Christ’s Sufferings
Again, Peter connects suffering with God’s will, as he writes in 1 Peter 2:21 that for “this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps,” so “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet. 4:13). You should know “that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Pet. 5:9). Paul shared in Christ’s suffering and expected that Timothy would, too, which is why he wrote that he was to “share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:3).
Our Suffering Is God’s Will
There is no doubt that some of the suffering we endure is a consequence that results from our own actions, but suffering is absolutely achieving God’s will, as Peter concludes by saying, “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Pet. 4:19) because no one suffers outside of the will of God and His purposes, but for all of us, it is to “share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8).
It is important to “remember that even in the midst of suffering, God’s will is being done,” whether it feels like it or not. That is what the Bible teaches, and we can suffer for His glory, suffer and be blessed for it, and share in the sufferings of Christ, for in all these things, God’s will is being done.