Suffering for Doing Good
1 Peter 3:8-22
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My Heart - A Throne
by Mary Alice McGinnis
Suffering. No one likes it. No one enjoys going through it. None of us is anxious for that deep, dark day of agony and sufferings to come knocking at our door.
I had a friend in High School who was my church buddy. We went to all the youth activities and retreats together. A couple of years after we graduated, she married a young man, and they had two beautiful children. After a few years, her husband started having an affair. The woman he was having an affair with was also seeing another man. My friend’s husband became so jealous that he went to the bar where the other man was. He followed him out into the country and killed him.
My friend was left to raise their two young children alone, while her (ex) husband went to prison for life. She was devastated.
After several years, when her children were teenagers, she met someone very special. He romanced her and won over her broken heart. They dated and soon decided to tie the knot. I was so happy for her that she had finally found a good person to spend her life with, and she was happy.
A few short years after they got married, they decided to take a family vacation to a beautiful lake in Nevada. It was a vacation of a lifetime. One particular day, they all decided to rent inner tubes to float in the peacefully, pristine water for the day.
After several hours, of soaking it all in, the pristine beauty soon turned to tragedy. A person came racing around the corner bend of the lake on a Jet Ski. They did not see the family floating on their innertubes and they struck my friend at full speed, killing her instantly.
How do we make sense of such tragedies? How do we cope?
The world tells us to get even, to make them pay, to retaliate, seek vengeance. When we are hurt, everything in our being wants to lash back and make those who have hurt us suffer the way they have caused us to suffer.
Yet, today's passage spells out for us a different path. It says if you want a life that is TRUE life, turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it!
How is that possible? This phrase came jumping off the pages to me.
“But in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord.”
What does that mean? How does that help us, especially when we are suffering?
Our heart, the center of our physical being, is also figuratively the center of our innermost being. Our heart is the fountain and seat of our deepest thoughts, passions, and desires. It is our vigor, our soul, and the seat of spiritual life.
Who is Peter encouraging us to have seated there on the throne of our hearts?
Will we allow anger, fear, and vengeance rule our hearts? And if we do, what will be the outcome? What does that kingdom of fear look like?
What is the alternative? When we are afraid, we can run to the safety of our Sovereign King Jesus. He is the Prince of suffering, the Emperor of agony. He endured the pain of betrayal, hatred, abuse, and even an unjust death. He knows every suffering we have ever felt firsthand. Yet, He suffered in a way that none of us EVER have! He felt the full agonizing abandonment of the Father, as He took the punishment of all our sins upon Himself. Why? So He could bring us to God. He rose VICTORIOUSLY! He proclaimed His victory even to the depths of hell itself. They no longer have mastery! He now reigns supreme. I don’t know about you, but that is the King I want to hold in reverence and awe. That is the King I want to fill my deepest thoughts, passions, and desires of my heart.
Lord Jesus, King of creation, Lord of the Heavens, Sovereign ruler of all things, fill my heart with all of who You are.