1 Peter 2:19-25
“For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly…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.” (1 Peter 2:19, 21)
I hate to categorize suffering but unjust suffering is the worst – to go through suffering for something you feel you do not deserve. My daughter is an extremely hard-working and dedicated student and her grades show the fruit of her effort. But one of her teachers is struggling with online teaching, often mixing up assignments and changing due dates at the last minute. As a result, my daughter’s grades have dropped in that class. Despite reaching out to the teacher, she admits no fault and shows no grace. This has devastated my daughter because she feels it is unfair and unjust….Right now, there are so many people who feel this way. “I have been a good citizen, I have been a good husband or wife, I have worked hard, I have been a faithful Christian. Why am I diagnosed, why have I lost someone I love, why am I unemployed, why do I feel lonely and depressed in my home right now?” It does not make sense and feels so undeserving.
I have heard many Christians claim that because they are obedient and trust God, God will not let any harm fall on me. God will not allow the coronavirus to touch me or my family. While the Bible does state that God provides protection and watches over the faithful, (and I pray to my Sovereign God each night to protect my family and loved ones!), it is also true that it is not “all the time.” There are times God allows us to suffer, to get sick, and even fall. God will not swoop down every time I call on His name. That is what today’s scripture says. “It is a credit to you if being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly… for to this you have been called because Christ also suffered (unjustly) for you.”
It would be arrogant for me to say exactly why God has allowed someone they love to get sick or pass away during this time. My finite mind cannot fully comprehend the ways of God. It would also be presumptuous to give a simple and universal answer to the immense suffering of so many people. But what I can say to you with confidence is that your struggle “is a credit to you” (1 Peter 2:19) Every tear that is shed is being compassionately counted by God. What you sow in sorrow will be reaped one day in manifold grace.
What I am going through is not unjust cruelty or callous indifference on God’s part. This is a virus that has no borders and touches the just and unjust alike. But this storm too will pass, and God’s hand will give to you much more than what has been taken away! Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. Where suffering abounds, healing and hope abounds even more. Where death abounds, victory and life abounds even more! This is our hope and this is what the Word of God declares to us today. In the mean time, may the presence and power of God carry you through the storm toward a better tomorrow.