One thing I was told when I ran the 400, and then in return told my athletes, was that it’s not really a question of if you will suffer, while running it, but when. What we meant in saying that was this: As a 400 runner, you can suffer in practice, you can suffer while giving yourself to the workout and putting in faithful training, or you can suffer when the “day of judgment” comes, when you line up for a race. That’s the choice. Not if…but when!
Friends, Peter’s saying something similar about suffering in today’s passage. He’s saying it’s not really a matter of if you will suffer but when you will suffer. Peter encourages Christians here—like 400 meter runners—to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus in this life so that they can celebrate in victory at the finish-line, at the day of Christ’s glory.