“For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” – 1 Peter 3:16
When I had planned out the eBulletin messages back in January, I had no idea how much ministry was about to change. The topic of suffering had been a foreign one to most of us in the West. Warm winter vacations or summer evenings at the cottage were the things that helped us to press forward after a long winter. But suffering for doing good?
Along came the wave of COVID-19 in our country, and suddenly large gatherings were being banned; school doors were shut; businesses were closing; our Prime Minister was telling us to stay home and practice physical distancing. Four weeks later, we find ourselves longing for connection, some having lost jobs, and others battling our personal health.
The Lord, in his loving-kindness and merciful discipline, has willed that we have the luxuries and comforts of this present age stripped from us. Staying home, socially distant, and economically challenged, we are suffering (and some more than others). It is good that we stay home and not gather together, potentially threatening the lives of vulnerable people around us. It is good that we sacrifice if we have a steady income at this time and care for one another in our church family who are economically challenged. It is good for us to suffer and do good rather than go about our lives normally and risk the well-being of others.
As we honour Christ as Lord, our defense for our hope is that Christ (1 Pe. 3:15), the sovereign Lord who rules and reigns over viruses and economies, is also the Christ who endured the cross, suffering once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous. Christ tasted the sting of sin and death; the virus that has infected us all was given to Christ at the cross, being put to death in the flesh, that we might be brought to God (1 Pe. 3:18).
The sacrifices we make today are a reminder that the little trials we are enduring now are nothing compared to an eternal punishment for delighting in sin. What makes Good Friday so good is the promise that all who trust in the death of Christ will find the healing of Christ for the soul.
This current season of suffering and trial is hard. But it is far better for us to suffer a little while than suffer for eternity. We can do good: we can give sacrificially and help those in need at this time. We can call one another and sacrifice our time to encourage one another. And we can be ministers of God’s grace and display that the love of Christ compels us.
So look to Christ. Enjoy his sacrifice that brings life in the midst of a world of death. And know that you, too, can do much good for the glory of God in these days.
With love for you all,
Missional Action Prayer: Lord, thank you for Christ’s death that freed me from the penalty and power of sin. Because you have been so good to me, help me to do good to others, even when it is costly and difficult. Amen.