Stained glass examples....
In his first letter, Peter states that he is well aware of how those that followed Jesus suffered. It’s funny how we have all seen these pretty stained glass pictures of Peter and the disciples but sometimes forget that they were men and women just like you and me. But unlike you and me, they walked and talked in the flesh, with Jesus and lived virtuous lives——they lived like people that were witnesses to the resurrected Son of God—-because, of course, they were.
So Peter says in the fourth and fifth chapter, "Don’t be ashamed if you are suffering”——-(be ashamed if you never suffer). These folks were Spirit-filled, were walking totally in line with what God wanted and yet they were still suffering. I am certain that some folks within the church were saying, “this is happening because of unconfessed sin” or “you have ignored God’s voice”, etc. But Peter reminds them that suffering is not a sign of God’s displeasure but rather something He allows to happen to bring glory to Himself and His Son.
And so Peter proclaims: Praise God in the suffering! Yes, give Him thanks when there’s apparently no reason or explanation for why you’re going through a tough time or event—-HE KNOWS WHAT’S HAPPENING TO YOU——-and He is receiving glory in the manner in which you turn to Him and cry out, “Abba, Father! Have mercy on me!” There is an indescribable joy and sense of peace of released when we praise Him as we suffer through things that seem to have no end in sight and no meaningful purpose! When we rejoice and praise Him, were’t telling the world: “It’s all going to work out and be okay, and even if it does not and my suffering brings glory to God and His children to repentance and salvation, let the suffering go on”.
Peter goes on and says, “When suffering comes commit yourself to God and continue to do good”. That is, DO NOT wallow in self pity or give up because you are hurting, or appear to be losing the fight or see no way to come out ahead….COMMIT IT ALL TO GOD AND KEEP ON DOING WHAT YOU SET OUT TO DO FOR HIM! This is what defined the true men and women of God and this is why we see them portrayed in stained glass windows—-these saints never gave up and never gave in to self pity.
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