But God’s grace can include suffering
1 Peter 5:9-12 Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. … So after you have suffered a little while, God will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation … What you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
We’ve come to the end of 1 Peter at the same time we’re celebrating Juneteenth, an opportunity to remember and honor the hard-won end of Black enslavement in the United States.
But thinking of the horrific suffering engendered by the Civil War on both sides of the conflict, and the betrayals Black people experienced in the Jim Crow years and beyond, I find I want to argue with Peter. How can suffering be part of God’s grace?
The Civil War was an unconscionable tragedy rooted in greed, cruelty, violence, and a distorted perspective of God’s purposes and plans for his people. The war (as do all wars) engendered shattering losses of life and livelihood, families divided and decimated, resources squandered.
Today, the tragedy of war is replaying in the Ukraine. Where is the grace? What are you saying, Peter?
I read an article this morning titled “Why White Men Should Celebrate Juneteenth.” Without the Civil War, our nation would have broken into two and the double standard which fractured our nation into slave and free despite the bold statement in the Declaration of Independence of the “self-evident truth” that all men were created equal would have continued to poison our progress. As Frederick Douglass said, a healthier nation is built upon “one country, one citizenship, and one liberty for all the people.”
But did this have to come at such an immense cost? Where is the grace, Peter?
According to the UNHCR, there are over 84 million displaced people in the world. Where is the grace, Peter?
According to Safe Horizon, 24.9 million people are victims of “modern slavery” in the United States, including 3.8 million adults and 1 million children exploited by sex trafficking. Come on, Peter. You dare speak of grace?
What is Peter saying?? Please look back over 1 Peter and tell me what you think!