“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because those who have suffered in their bodies are done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2 )
I want to share with you the quote that Melodie Davis paired with this verse in her book 366 Ways to Peace . “No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do” – Dorothy Day (from Seeds of Peace p. 175) I am going through a kind of rough patch right now, and this is a good ‘pick yourself up and dust yourself off’ quote. So I am trying to do just that. When down in the dumps the idea of keeping busy with worthwhile things is more appealing than the writer of I Peter ‘stiff upper lip’ exhortation to live for the will of God.. Verse 1 says that Christ knew what it was like to suffer, so I like to imagine that Christ is right in the trenches with me and helping me to muddle through my tough times by doing good for others. What I don’t like is the implication that by letting my woes and cares sidetrack me I am heeding “evil human desires” more than God’s will.
Maybe I am reading more into the verses and giving the context of the verses more emphasis than my situation warrants. Verse three goes on to talk about “living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” It does not mention feeling sorry for yourself. It does not explicitly talk about peace. But neither does it exclude peace from consideration. If we placed the above verse in an equation with peace as the answer or solution, it might go something like this. Remember thought, do the calculations in the brackets first.
[(Suffering plus Christ’s forbearance) minus sin/evil human desires] plus will of God equals peace.
At first glance peace, or the lack of it, may not be part of my situation either. But ‘rough patches’, whatever that might mean to you, usually reflect an absence of peace and/or peace of mind. Dorothy Day’s statement applies equally well to peace as to any other potential cause of hopelessness. And if keeping busy forestalls inner angst, however better if the busy-ness contributes to the good of another.
I hope and pray you, gentle reader, are have smooth and peaceful days. Whatever the situation in our lives, may the Lord of peace keep our hands and hearts busy do the Divine’s work of peace. Selah!