Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. - 1 Peter 4:19 (ESV)
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. - 1 Peter 4:19 (NIV)
Read Full Passage HERE
When I read this verse, I am reminded of the story in Acts when the Sadducees arrested the disciples. They were performing miraculous works in Jerusalem, and many people came to believe in Christ because of the miracles being done. The Sadducees wanted to kill the disciples for their claims about Christ, but then Gamaliel, a Pharisee who was a teacher of the law, cautioned them. He stated that false messiahs have come through history before, and each time their movements amounted to nothing and fizzled out. Therefore, he urged them not to kill the disciples because if they are false, their movement will similarly fizzle out, but if their claims are true, they will not be able to overthrow them and will be caught opposing God. The Sadducees listened to Gamaliel’s warning, and the rest goes as follows:
“...and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” Acts 5:40-42
Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
Is this our reaction when suffering and persecution are present in our lives? I believe the disciples could have this reaction because they possessed perspective. Their worldview operated on the foundation that their Creator is faithful and His name, and the glorification of it, is the highest priority in their lives. So, they found joy in suffering through persecution because they were suffering for the name of Christ. They held the same perspective as Paul:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” - Romans 8:18
Does your faith conquer adversity, or does adversity conquer your faith? The Gospel has stood the test of time and has never fizzled out, even though thousands upon thousands of people have been killed because of their faith. If you are in Christ, neither death nor life nor anything can separate you from the Love of Christ. James tells us not to be discouraged by trial but instead to be encouraged when we face adversity, for it is building up our faith and molding us into the likeness of Christ. How encouraging is it to know that everything the world intended for evil, God works instead for good? The darkest moments of Christian history have always become the moment in which the Gospel goes furthest.
The disciples suffered well and didn’t allow suffering to deter their obedience to Christ because of the long-term vision they held on to. They focused less on their present circumstances and continued to do good and preach the good news while holding on to the precious truth that they will be resurrected after death and will experience the glory to be revealed. We too must count trials as joy, as we belong to a kingdom that isn’t of this world, an upside-down kingdom that turns evil into good and darkness into light. Even if this tent we now live in is destroyed, we can have peace knowing we have a home in heaven that will never end. (2 Cor. 5) Let us seek to do good to our neighbor and our enemy and to suffer with Joy with the certainty of the future glory to come. Let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.