19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 1 Pet. 19-25
Long time ago, when I was about 8 or 9, my brothers and I used to go down to our grandmother’s farm where a little stream passed by. We loved to go down there and play in the water. The stream was too small even to swim in but, one day, as we were by the stream, my elder brother John announced to us that he intended to swim all the way up to wherever that “river” originated from. The stream came from a swamp quite some distance away.
We crossed our hearts in awe as we envisioned the undertaking John was about to engage in. He would be crossing steep ravines and fighting currents of every sort.
He quickly took off his clothes and before you could say “Abracadabra!”, he was in the water. Head down and arms flying like rotors, he beat away furiously at the water.
After about half a minute of this energetic exercise, he pulled up his head and asked, “Where am !?”
I still recall the answer we gave him. We told him, “You are still right here with us.”
He hadn’t moved an inch. The river was too small to even manouver in.
I am going to use this analogy to share with my readers one of the greatest lessons that the Lord has taught me to date. That we can do so many things that are “thankworthy” and “acceptable” – but not before God. That we can do so much good in this world for but, when we get to heaven, we find ourselves standing empty-handed before the Lord.
Why? Because, somehow, we evaded that all-important thing in our lives: “suffering”. We never allowed ourselves to endure suffering.
It is this suffering that I want to talk of at length here.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
I want us to consider verses 19 and 20 and, in particular, the two words “thankworthy” and “acceptable”.
To whom does the word “thankworthy” refer to? In other words, who is thanking who here? Or, put differently: Who is commending who here?
Actually, verse 20 qualifies verse 19. In this verse, we read that if we suffer patiently for the sake of Christ, this is acceptable with God.
Imagine that. Imagine doing something that is acceptable with God. Imagine being commended by God. Imagine being thanked by God.
In my lifetime, I have met many very good people. Truly wonderful people. People who would die for you.
But, in these verses, the Bible draws a clear line between what is good, commendable, thankworthy or acceptable with man; and what is with God.
The two are as far apart as night is from day.
[It is not the good we do that God looks at, but our patience in suffering]