May 23, 2023
Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19, 5:6-11
Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:1-22, Luke 19:11-28
1 Peter 4:13: “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Peter calls suffering a blessing. I wish he wouldn’t. It isn’t just how much it hurts. It’s the question of why. Because a loving God sends some suffering for good. And also, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking to devour Christians. Working havoc. And suffering. It makes the suffering God sends hard to pick out from the suffering the devil brings. And highlights the question. Why? We try to parse the source of the suffering. We try to parse the reason. When all along, this is simply a call about where to take it. We take suffering to Jesus, who joins us in it.
It’s going to hurt down here. Be ready. Some of it will come from the devil. Some of it will come from God. Some of it will come as the consequences of your own sins and sins others commit. And in the middle of it all, you won’t understand where it comes from. You’ll just pray it will go away. You won’t understand why it’s happening, be it divine plan, satanic attack, or simply human stupidity. But even if you do, it usually won’t be worth the trade to you. We have a bigger problem with suffering than God does.
That’s evident. Not just because it’s too common or because it hurts, but chiefly in the fact that suffering is how God saves you. He suffers for you. God dwells in suffering first. He died on the cross to save you, not just from the attacks of the devil, but from the consequences of your own sins. So that you could do more than hope that this world too full of suffering might get a little better. He places Himself into suffering so that you can be placed into the resurrection and a world without it.
God dwells in suffering first. His glory is revealed there. Glory is a presence word. It means that God is actually there. God suffers for you on the cross and works good there. When we are close to suffering, we are close to where God works salvation. That’s a blessing. When we suffer, we join ours to Him who has already conquered it and we look past the cross to the empty tomb, that we would know suffering isn’t all there is, it’s just the rocky path already paved smooth by Jesus for your salvation. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O LORD, let us who suffer according to Your will entrust our souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. Amen.
-Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Jonathan Lackey is an LCMS seminarian.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.