Friday, May 19, 2017

Hold On

by Tim Howe

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite stories. It tells the tale of Edmond Dantès, an innocent man wrongly accused and sentenced to imprisonment at Château d'If near Marseilles, France. As the story begins, Dantès finds himself in an enviable position - a good job, a happy life, and an impending marriage to the love of his life. In a stroke, he loses it all and then languishes fourteen years unjustly confined. It is during this time of suffering that his steely resolve and a reversal of fortune combine to lead to an improbable turn of events. The bulk of the story details his pursuit of revenge and justice.

Fictional vs. RealityIn the story of the Count of Monte Cristo justice is deliciously served. But this is a fictional novel. Things often turn out quite differently. Part of the novel's entertainment value is that what should happen eventually happens. In reality, however, injustice often goes unavenged. 1 Peter addresses when this happens.

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. (1 Pet. 2:19 ESV)

Colliding Values
We live in a world that pursues an agenda apart from God. The world's pursuits simply don't line up with God's will, and sometimes are even openly hostile to it. As a result, those of us who follow Christ find ourselves on a collision course with people or events that bring suffering and pain. Frequently, this suffering comes unjustly.

1 Peter teaches us that our endurance of suffering can be a powerful thing as we remind ourselves of the One for whom we suffer. The verse above even indicates that it can be a thing full of grace. The NLT translation of this verse states, For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.

Shared Experience

God's pleasure comes at our response to the suffering. Our focus on His purpose even in the midst of severe difficulty bring joy to our Father. We share this in common with Christ (1 Pet. 2:21) and with believers throughout all ages who have experienced difficulty on account of the faith.

Hold OnMaybe no one knows what you are going through, but hold on. You might be in the middle of your fiercest battle, but hold on. Take pleasure that even in the darkest hour, God's grace is sufficient.

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