“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
~ 1 Peter 5:10
We’ve experienced the emptiness of suffering. Our response can destroy dreams or determine destiny. God has promised us His peace, but the process of getting there can be painful. Peter tells us that our response to suffering requires surrender, sending off our worries, being sober minded and standing strong. (1 Peter 5:6-9).
Life’s challenges are designed not to break us but to bend us toward God.
Peter goes on to tells us that our suffering is only for a short season. He writes, “And after you have suffered for a little while” . . . it’s not a lifetime . . . it’s not long term . . . it’s for a little while. The psalmist gives comforting words, “For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Ps 30:5)
He also reminds us that God is a God of all grace who has called us to His eternal glory. Grace, not guilt. Glory, not grieving. Our sufferings are not because of God’s disappointment, but by His design. This grueling grind produces a glory. We join Christ in His sufferings, understanding the joy of surrendering to God’s mighty and merciful hand. And, the promised results are a renewal of hope provided by God, Himself.
He Restores. Restoration is not replacing, it’s repairing. In our suffering, God takes what He has already put in us and makes it better. He promises to repair the damage that sin and suffering may have done. God will make us what we ought to be and need to be. He may have to strip off the paint of our pride or sand off our selfishness . . . but, He promises a restoration of righteousness by the hand of the Righteous One. The psalmist writes, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” (Ps 138:8)
He Confirms. In our suffering, God becomes a secure, surrounding and solid refuge. Ron Ritchie writes, “God will ‘confirm’ you. He will make you as solid as granite and enable you to stand against the fiery ordeal and the storms of life.” He is our Solid Rock and He makes us rock solid. Paul wrote, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace comfort and confirm (establish) your hearts in every good work and word.” (2 Th 2:16-17)
He Strengthens. In my weakness, He is strength. When I cannot, He can. He is the lifter of my head. He is my power when I am powerless. When suffering erodes all of my strength and stamina, He energizes me with His strength and Spirit. Paul reminds us that, “I [We] can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13)
He Establishes. In our fragility, He becomes our foundation. Peter says that the God of all grace Himself promises to place suffering, storm tossed saints on solid ground. The hymn writer penned these words, “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” When everything we’ve stood on is shifting, we can stand on Him, our never-shifting Rock.
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “When an unbeliever goes through suffering, he loses his hope; but for a believer, suffering only increases his hope. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom 5:3-4). God builds character and brightens hope when a believer trusts Him and depends on His grace. The result is that God receives the glory forever and ever.”
Bend and not break. Suffer for a while and be satisfied forever. It’s by His grace and for His glory.