Instead of grieving losses, the world typically addresses loss by avoiding the loss, blaming others and themselves, and controlling what they can. These tactics eventually lead to despair, but trust in God’s goodness and control can provide hope for the future and strength in the present.
The NT teaching that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God is seldom well received and will often be costly to the messenger. Nevertheless, God is always faithful and will strengthen those true to the gospel.
Following Jesus carries costs associated with reputation and relationships, but the Holy Spirit is ready to transform and empower us when we’re willing to live and speak the gospel.
Simply being alive means that we will suffer at some point. The question is whether we will experience it for doing right or doing wrong. Peter reminds us that it is much better to suffer for following Jesus on the narrow path and contributing to his mission rather than seeking our own.
While God is just and we naturally want justice for ourselves, God is more intent upon establishing lasting life through redemption. Ultimately it is eternal life that vindicates those who love God and do his will.
Suffering often isolates, hinders, and shames us. But because Jesus suffered as he did, he enables us to live bravely, with persistent strength and dignity.
If we really worship Jesus as Lord, suffering will be inevitable. Instead of asking if we will suffer, we should be asking how we can suffer with Jesus, delighting in him and in the opportunity to share the hope within us.