The Fellowship of Suffering

“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”—1 Peter 5:9 (NKJV)
There’s an old expression that claims, “Misery loves company.” There’s truth to it, isn’t there? When we’re downcast, the last kind of person we want to be around is the overly cheerful type who finds the silver lining behind every cloud. It’s human nature to desire sympathy during challenging times.
It’s not an unbiblical idea, either. In Romans 12:15 (NKJV) we’re told to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (emphasis added). That’s what family and close friends are for: to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Our connection to God’s family is most deeply felt when we share in each other’s sufferings, as today’s verse points out. However, Peter isn’t referring to simply having a bad day or facing a difficult situation in life; it’s far more serious than that.
Here, the apostle is talking about the persecution of believers by Satan himself. In verse 8 (NIV), he refers to our common enemy as “a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The devil’s primary goal is to steal, kill, and destroy the members of God’s family, and Peter commands us to resist him and stand firm in our faith. What helps give us strength is the knowledge that we are not alone—that we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are experiencing the very same attacks as we are.
Although this truth is difficult to swallow, it should come as no surprise to us as believers. We are to expect suffering not only because life is difficult, but also because of who we are in Christ. In 1 Peter 4:12 (NIV), the apostle tells the churches, “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” Why? Peter answers in verse 14: “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” In other words, when we endure spiritual attack, it’s a clear indication we belong to Jesus.
One Bible commentary puts it this way: “It is a sign of God’s favor rather than displeasure that Satan is allowed to harass you, as he did Job. Your fellow Christians have the same battle of faith and prayer against Satan.”
If you’re under attack today, be strong and remember that you’re in good company.
DIG: It’s been said that in the Christian life you’re either going into, in the midst of, or coming out of a storm. Who has been there for you during difficult seasons in your life? What did their presence mean to you?
DISCOVER: Are you often surprised or irritated when bad things happen to you in life? Read James 1:2-4. How should you view challenges in light of what the Scriptures tell us about them?
DISPLAY: The next time you are enduring a spiritual attack, take a moment to stop and pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ who are also suffering, and give thanks to God for confirming your place in His family.

About the Author

Rob Nieminen

Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.