1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11 (NRSV)
Verse 12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. Verse 13But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. Verse 14If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. Verse 6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Verse 7Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
Verse 8Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Verse 9Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.
Verse 10And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. Verse 11To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
When visiting my grandmother, often after dinner she would share stories of her life growing up in rural Ohio. She would matter-of-factly describe circumstances that I would consider hazardous or life-threatening. Yet, for her, it just seemed to be part of how they survived harsh conditions. Suffering was considered part of life itself and no one was immune. Fast forward to today and we seem to do everything in our power to avoid suffering, to place the blame on God or others, or possibly to feel shame for our suffering or maybe even feel that our prayers have gone unheard. However, there are times that we do suffer. It is in those times that we are invited to cast all our worries on God, because God cares for us (5:7), because we are loved and are claimed and named as children of God. We are reminded that we will not avoid suffering but that God, through Jesus, will be with us in the midst of it all, walking with us, supporting, and strengthening us.
Loving God, thank you for hearing our cries to you in the midst of our suffering. Surround us with your love and care especially during these times. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.