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A letter from the apostle Peter

Can suffering be a blessing?

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.” (1 Peter 3:13-14)

Today’s text is a paradox. In verse 13, Peter rhetorically asks who is there to harm us if we are zealous for what is good? A similar question is found in Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”. It seems like Christians are safe from trouble.

But Peter continues: “Even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake…”. That was not a hypothetical, improbable option. It was the day to day reality for many of Peter’s readers! Romans 8 speaks about tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and the sword as very real dangers that Christians might be confronted with. How then can Peter and Paul say that everything is okay?

Apparently, there is something of greater value in all this suffering, something that can’t be lost or damaged by our enemies. That’s God’s blessing. Jesus Christ has already said so: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)

Suffering itself is not desirable. But those who suffer for righteousness’ sake, are called blessed by Jesus Himself. Their reward will be great in heaven (see Matthew 5:11-12).

Are you able to see God’s blessing even in times of suffering?

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Grietje Commelin

Grietje studied theology and mastered in Bible Translation. Next to being a mother, she supports GlobalRize by writing bible reflections and other content for GlobalRize.

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