For Yours is the Kingdom of Heaven!

For Yours is the Kingdom of Heaven!

Cori Forcey posted in Daily Devotions on Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 - 1 Peter 4:12-19 

Suffering is a part of everyone’s story. Whether the suffering is due to illness, grief, or natural disaster, it often unites people. We see this in widespread suffering like the attacks on 9/11. The United States was united in a way that I’ve never seen again in my lifetime. We also see this in individuals’ suffering such as the death of a spouse. There are support groups specifically for widows or widowers that bring people together into meaningful relationships in that mutual suffering.  

Jesus told us, or perhaps warned us, that there would be suffering for us as Christians as well. When we choose to follow Jesus, we choose not to follow the world. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says “Because you do not belong to the world […] the world hates you.” We will be persecuted. We will suffer. Peter is identifying that as we suffer for following God, we are also united with him. Jesus came and walked this earth. He experienced suffering much beyond what many of us will suffer in our own lifetimes.  

So how about that? Are you excited about your persecution yet? No? Me neither. But perhaps it will ease the suffering a little to listen to Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew. “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” So yes, there will be persecution, but you are in good company along the way, and yours is the Kingdom of Heaven. Praise God for that! 

Questions for reflection: 

  1. In this passage, Peter identifies suffering for doing bad (murder, making trouble, etc.) and suffering for doing God’s work. Do you see both of those in your life? How are they different/the same? 
  2. What about the suffering that is just part of this world? Death, illness, disaster, etc.? Reflect on how God shows up in that suffering as well.