1 Peter 3:13-15 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Response to suffering should always be on the basis of the Lordship of Christ. In this same letter Peter acknowledges that his readers really were suffering because of their faith, but even there he tells them to rejoice. (1 Peter 4:12-19) Suffering itself isn’t desirable, much less to be sought, but remembering what Jesus endured for us should help us get through whatever we are facing. It is interesting that the last part of verse 14, which the NIV credits in a footnote as a quote of Isaiah 8:12, the Japanese translates as, “Don’t fear their threats or let your hearts be shaken by them.” Often we suffer more in anticipation, because of threats, than we do with what people actually do to us. Bad things happen, and some of it is malicious, but God can and will be with us whatever happens, so being anxious ahead of time is unnecessary loss. If we had back all the emotional energy we have spent on things that never happened, we’d be well off indeed! If Jesus is Lord, then that settles it. He wasn’t blowing smoke when He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me.” (Matthew 28:18) Full submission to His Lordship allows His authority to operate through us, bringing His will to pass whatever the circumstances.
This is timely for me. I am not being threatened by people, but the devil is using my wife’s health situation to try to generate anxiety. As I wrote someone last night, I do believe and trust God, but I am very aware of my own humanity – as well as my wife’s. This requires a conscious choice not to let my heart be shaken. My hope is not to be in the medical staff, though I have every reason to believe they are top notch, but in my Lord, who can and will guide them as instruments of His blessing. This is training for us both, and by God’s grace I can rest assured we will come through with flying colors.
Father, thank You again for all that You allow us to experience. Help us indeed acknowledge Christ as Lord every moment, not being shaken by anything but resting, relaxing, and rejoicing in You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!