“For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” - 1 Peter 3:17
You dotted the “I’s” and you’ve crossed the “T’s.” You went by the book, did the right thing, and took the high road. You love Jesus and live right, but you still get kicked in the teeth. Perhaps you were faithful to your spouse, but your spouse was unfaithful to you. Maybe you stood up for what is right, but now you’re taking the heat for it. Or you turned in all of your receipts, but the guy who padded his expense account got the pay raise. There is no guarantee that doing the right thing will always pay off in this life.
The truth is, people are going to do bad things to you even when you do good things to them. People are going to say bad things about you even when you say good things to them. And God calls you blessed. How can suffering for doing what is right be a blessing?
There is one thing you can always know when you are suffering unjustly. You can know you are in the center of God’s will for your life. Do you believe that God always wants and wills what is best for you? If you believe that, then you also have to believe that the most blessed place you can be is in the center of God’s will – even if it’s hard. What you suffer is not important to God, because it is temporary. But why you suffer is very important to God. The purposes of suffering are eternal. It is meant to shape us, grow us, deepen us, and transform us.
As a Christian, you never have to fear suffering, because only that which God allows can touch you. So how should we respond to unjust suffering? 1 Peter 3:15 says, “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord.” That is the best place to start. We must set Christ aside as Lord in our hearts so that we always remember He is in control of all things.
Dear Jesus...teach me to understand to focus on you, and you alone, in times of suffering. You are my savior and friend, and I believe you will never leave or forsake me as your Word says. Amen.