For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
1 Peter 2:19,20
Making Sense out of Suffering
We don’t like to hear, “I told you so,” yet we have no one to blame but ourselves. Someone warned us, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” They predicted it would turn out badly, and now we’re suffering.
I hate it when that happens.
How did they know? Probably because they had tried it themselves and discovered it hurt. It’s simple. The cause is a bad decision. The effect is suffering.
Can’t you hear Mom’s progression of logic? The stove is hot. I told you not to touch it. You touched it anyway. Now you’re suffering. “I told you so.”
You caused your own suffering.
But what if you didn’t? What if you were just minding your own business, following the rules, doing everything correctly, and suffering came anyway? The worst kind of suffering is suffering that makes no sense.
That’s the type of suffering Saint Peter is describing in our Bible reading for today. He says, “it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering.” In other words, if you didn’t cause your suffering but you’re enduring it anyway, you’ll be rewarded. Especially, Peter adds, if the reason for your patient endurance is because you “are conscious of God.”
We need to realize that sometimes the only cause for our suffering is God himself. No, he’s not punishing us for something we did wrong. He hasn’t stopped loving us. He hasn’t taken the day off. Instead, in his perfect wisdom and saving work, he has allowed some suffering to darken our days that we never saw coming, and it doesn’t make sense.
Until we realize, this is God’s will and say, “God’s will be done.”
But rather than complaining or shaking our fist at God, what do God’s people do? We endure suffering patiently. We trust that our loving Father has a good reason for it and that one day it will all make sense.
Dear Lord, help me endure all my suffering patiently by putting my trust in you. Amen.