Rejoicing in the Lord

But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.  1 Peter 2:20-21

The fellowship of suffering is not often preached about from the pulpit.  Who wants to hear a message about life being unjust and miserable?  We’d rather hear about how God wants to bless us.

But what if when we do something good and we receive evil in return we just endure it?  God is pleased with this aspect of our character.  That we would do good anyway for His sake, for His name.

I love the instruction from Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

It is between you and God.  How I respond to whatever this life throws at me is between me and God.  Will my response bring Him glory?  Will I shine the light of Jesus when life is difficult and painful?  Will I be filled with grace and forgiveness for those who hate me or disappoint me?  Am I storing up treasure on earth or treasure in heaven?

All the suffering that I do in this lifetime is only temporary.  I have a God who loves me in it and through it.  He calls me to face all of life’s trials with the surety of His presence beside me.  He commands me over and over to not fear but to take courage.  My idea of success isn’t the issue, my obedience to His word is.  He has the outcome under control.

Help me Lord God to walk closely with you when times are good but all the more when life is hard.  Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and Your love.  Work through my life Lord so that others may come to know You and to accept the salvation offered through the painful suffering and ultimate victory of Your Son Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Give God your best.  Be happy and joyful because of Him.

Be encouraged.  Press on.

1 Peter 4.13

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