ODJ: Suffering and Healing

March 17, 2018 

READ: 1 Peter 2:19-25 

God called you to do good, even if it means suffering (v.21).

The 1986 film The Mission narrates the story of Father Gabriel and Rodrigo Mendoza, a former slave trader, who served together in the jungle bordering Argentina and Paraguay. The two moved into this remote country to befriend a tribe with little contact to the outside world. When powerful slavers descended on the village, Gabriel and Mendoza determined to stay. They were called to suffer with—rather than escape from—the tribe’s agonies and violence. Mendoza and Gabriel lost their lives, though their witness echoed with resounding force.

It’s a great temptation to put safety and pain avoidance as our highest priorities. Scripture tells us, however, that we’re “called . . . to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for [us]” (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus, Peter reminds us, “never sinned”—yet He “personally carried our sins in his body on the cross . . . [so that] by his wounds [we] are healed” (vv.22,24). He refused to return abuse with vengeance or to meet evil with more evil. The Saviour surrendered His life for the healing of the world.

Jesus’ posture isn’t only noble—it’s our model. Christ “is [our] example,” Peter says, “and [we] must follow in his steps” (v.21). In some beautiful and powerful way, our suffering alongside others participates in Jesus’ healing work.

What would it be like if we—by God’s strength—refused self-protection and self-absorption and instead abandoned our lives for the sake of love? What if we trusted Him with our children, our future and our deepest desires? What if we refused to fear loss as we found comfort in Him? What if we believed that even our suffering isn’t meaningless but can be used by God for the healing of our world?

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: Ruth 3:1-18

Reflect on Colossians 1:24. What does it mean that Paul suffered for the Colossians’ sake? 
How have you endured suffering? How can you frame your suffering in light of Peter’s invitation to follow Jesus’ example?