Yes, as believers we have an amazing and wonderful eternity to look forward to, but until then, we have lives to live here. And Peter, as with other biblical writers, does not look beyond our current experience only to dream about what is yet to be. He considers the present world and instructs, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable” (2:12). And what do we often get for trying to live as God would have us live? Suffering and sorrow. Paul wrote to Timothy, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). But we are not fooled: “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. . . . For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (2:19-21). We follow in Jesus’ steps, not only experiencing many of the same things he experienced but, also, step by step, we become more like him. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). That’s a reason not to despair but to rejoice!
In loving kindness Jesus came
My soul in mercy to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me,
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise His name, He lifted me! -- Charles H. Gabriel (1905)