For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. — 1 Peter 3:17
Suffering is never fun. I have never met one single person who says they look forward to suffering. It can be some of the more challenging and difficult parts of our lives. It seems from this verse in 1 Peter that there are different types of suffering, however.
We often think of suffering in the sense that someone is doing something wrong. They are suffering because of bad choices, because of sin, or for some other reason. We often talk about how our nation is suffering right now for turning our back on God. We have removed Him from key places and allowed wickedness to take over in many areas. We certainly can agree that our nation is suffering because of this.
The verse here tells us that God’s will sometimes involves suffering. We can see this in the book of Job, where God allowed Satan to bring suffering to Job. He lost everything except his life, even though he was living for God the entire time. It’s a little difficult to understand how doing exactly what God would have you to do lands you in the middle of suffering, but it can.
There are some aspects of affection that can only be accomplished through suffering. For example, when a husband and wife go through a suffering time together, it draws them closer together. When a friend is there for you during a time of suffering, you are drawn closer to them in friendship. The same can be said for our relationship with God. One writer said, “some of the brightest traits of character, are the effect of trials.”
While we may not want to suffer, Peter tells us that suffering while in the will of God is better than suffering for evil. If we are going to suffer, let it be at the hand of God, rather than by our own fault. Just because He allows us to suffer, does not mean that He doesn’t love us. In fact, it means that He loves us so much that He wants us to love Him more.