Does God Really Care About Your Situations?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
We have all been in situations where we have said that God just doesn’t care, or we wouldn’t be going through __________. You fill in the blank. Today we find out if God cares and what our response shold be.
(18) Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. (19) For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. (20) For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. (21) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
(22) “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
(23) who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (24) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. (25) For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
-1 Peter 2:18-25
Before we get into this we must know a couple of things. The Bible was written to first century Christians who lived in a culture where slavery was acceptable. If the Bible had completely condemned slavery then people during this time would reject it. But through the preaching of the Gospel slavery was eventually done away with. We must interpret this scripture in the light of the historical context of the passage.
Now Peter talks about how slaves should respond. It isn’t fair that they are in that position, but Peter gives them guidance as to how to behave in light of their relationship with God. In all things, no matter what situation you find yourself you should give honor to God.
In Today’s society this can be applied as those who have rule over you (i.e. work, spiritual authority etc.). Some people who have authority over you are harsh (as anyone who has a job knows) and other folks are good to work with and for. During this time these were slaves! They couldn’t just quit and look for “greener pastures” like we can. No they had to do all they do as unto the Lord. Today, however, if someone with authority over you are harsh and evil you have the option to leave. That being said this text has been applied by pastors far too often, incorrectly, in order to hold a person in their church when perhaps God isn’t telling them to stay in that church/ministry. However if we find ourselves in a situation that we can’t get away from we should endure that as unto the Lord.
Now in verse twenty Peter gives them a caveat to this line of thinking. He states that if we endure suffering for own faults, or straight out wrong doing then it doesn’t profit you. In other words, why would God look at you and say this is to His Glory, if you were belligerent or defiant? But Peter reiterates that if you endure poor treatment, though you have done nothing wrong, then it is to your benefit and God will be please for your actions and bless you.
Now at this point, in verses twenty-one through twenty-two, many Christians would find themselves in the “why me” mentality. We are reminded that Jesus who suffered more than anyone else on earth because of the physical and spiritual turmoil He was under, endured to the very end for the God’s glory! We are called to be like Christ, enduring hardships to the Glory of God. We might not understand it all, but we can be assured that God sees the entirety of all things and will work it out for His glory and our benefit. This assurance is accomplished by our faith in a good God who loves us and will not abandon us.
Verse twenty-three gives us an important attitude. When Christ was raised from the dead He did not hold grievance with those that persecuted Him. He did not take vengeance, and did not hold hatred and bitterness in Himself for those that did that to Him. No, He left all that to the Father who judges rightly. This is something we are required to emulate; something that is hard but nevertheless we are called to emulate Christ in it. If you have trouble with this, make it a matter of prayer before a Holy and loving God.
In verses twenty-four and twenty-five Peter continues to remind us the high cost Christ paid on the cross for us. Because of this high price that Christ paid we should endure the hardships that we find ourselves in. No, it may not be right (whether slavery or whatever other circumstance) what has happened to you and it may not be God’s perfect will, but unfortunately sin marred all of creation and it is where we find ourselves. Therefore we must remember that God is our shepherd and He will oversee our souls and will take care of us as we walk throughout this life. We must continue to be faithful, and He is always faithful to do exceedingly above and beyond anything we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
How about you today? Do you find yourself in a situation you would rather not be in? Hey we have all been there and will be there again. I don’t hide that fact from anyone. That is why Christ said to count the cost. The question is, how will you respond in that situation? Will hold on to bitterness and anger? Or will you continue to be faithful to God? The choice is yours.