“Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good . . .” (1 Peter 4:19)
Nobody in his right mind would choose to suffer, but if you suffer by choosing to do God’s will, is something very different. No normal Christian believers runs toward suffering. The Christian believer chooses God over everything else and sometimes that choice forces to face an unjust world that brings suffering into our lives. As believers in Christ we should assist other believers in their suffering but we should not belittle their suffering when they are engaged in doing God’s will.
Most people would think that anyone choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will— even if it means you will suffer— is always the right thing to do. Normal, healthy Christian believers never choose suffering. They simply choose to do God’s will, just as Jesus did, even if choosing God’s will bring suffering.
The Christian believer who satisfies Jesus’ heart will make other saints strong and mature for God. But the people God uses to strengthen us are never those who decide to have pity on us. In fact, many times those who give us their sympathy hinder us more than help us. Misplaced sympathy looks like pity. If we accept the pity of another saint, our spontaneous feeling is, “God is dealing too harshly with me and making my life too difficult.” That is why Jesus told Peter that self-pity was of the devil (see Matthew 16:21-23). When Jesus told the disciples that he was going to be killed, but that he would be raised on the third day, Peter tried to intervene to prevent Jesus’ suffering. Jesus did not want any part of Peter’s misguided pity. In fact, Jesus told Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Beware of thinking that Jesus needed sympathy during His life on earth. He refused the sympathy of people because in His great wisdom He knew that no one on earth understood His purpose (see Matthew 16:23). He accepted only the sympathy of His Father (see Luke 15:10).
According to the world’s judgment God has wasted many lives of the saints. Sometimes it looks as if God sends His saints to the most useless places. And then we say, “God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him.” Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be. This is the bottom line—the ultimate act of service is to bring glory to God.