Life is often a struggle and sometimes it is dangerous. There are many things that can cause us to stumble and it’s easy to be afraid of what is “out there.”

But the way of Jesus is one that calls us to risk, to dare, to take a chance. This is the way Jesus lived and the path to which he calls us.

It’s good to know that, all along the way, we are covered and cared for, protected by the Spirit of God. Whether or not you are feeling vulnerable right now, trust in the Spirit to watch over you.

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Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.

1 Peter 4:11–14

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As a preschool teacher, I have to deal with a certain amount of gross stuff: scraped knees, snotty noses, upset stomachs, and—perhaps worst of all—lice. These things are never expected, yet they never come as a real surprise, either. They’re all just part of life in a classroom.

The same is true of suffering: it just happens. Although we don’t usually expect it, we know there will be suffering in our lives because there’s no such thing as a life without suffering. No one ever said we have to like it. Except the author of 1 Peter just did. “Rejoice” for suffering? Seriously?

It sounds crazy at first, but think about it this way: suffering is another way in which we can relate to Jesus and Jesus can relate to us. We can’t relate to a life without sin. But pain and suffering? Yep, we can relate to that. Suffering stinks, no doubt about it, but it gives us an opportunity to grow closer to Christ. That is certainly a reason to rejoice!

Julie Ball

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Fairest Lord Jesus, thank you for every opportunity to grow closer to you, even in suffering. Thank you for the sacrifice you made when you set aside heavenly glory to put on the pain of human life. You know how I feel, and for that I am deeply grateful. Amen.

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3–5

Julie Ball

Julie Ball lives with her family in Memphis, Tennessee, where she wears many hats: mom, wife, writer, teacher, musician, lifelong learner, and cupcake connoisseur. Julie shares her thoughts and experiences on her blog, Meeting God in Memphis.

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