A Bible verse from 1 Peter joins us more closely to Christ.
Posted in , May 24, 2017
Perhaps it was because I was already deep into a glum, “let no good deed go unpunished” frame of mind that I was startled by the words of 1 Peter 3:17 at church on Sunday: “For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
How had I never heard these words before? I’ve read 1 Peter dozens of times and slid right by them. Looking at my personal situation from this perspective–that it’s not a matter of if we suffer, but of choosing what we suffer for–it made total sense. Why had I assumed that I’d be thanked or appreciated? Why was I hurt when people threw my efforts in my face? I prayed about this for a long while until thought I had a clue.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
The truth was that my motives were mixed: I thought I’d chosen to do what was right purely for God’s sake, yet I also kind of expected what amounted to a holy pat on the back.
Somewhere deep down I’d assumed the response I’d get would be Matthew 25:21 (“Well done, good and faithful servant!”) instead of John 15:18 (“If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated me first”). But we don’t actually get our rewards in this life.
I quickly memorized 1 Peter 3:17 to carry in my heart for the future. It’s a comforting reminder that suffering may feel bad, but allows us to imitate Christ. And that is good.