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. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:10-11
We have come to the end of Peter’s first letter, and despite the heavy subject of suffering he leaves us with a beautiful word of encouragement.
He began his book by addressing those who are suffering and reminded them of the mercy and grace found in their Savior. He ends his letter in much the same way.
I love that Peter does not try to sugar coat life. He says, “After you have suffered a little while.” Yes, life will be hard; there will be trials and sufferings of various degrees in our lives. We can be sure of it.
But Peter does not stop on a downer; he continues with “the God of all grace.” Such simple words, and yet so powerful, especially to those who are worn out and sad. God is not simply a gracious God who shows us kindness and love. He owns ALL grace. Every form that grace can take comes from God himself and he pours it out on his people.
Here are a few ways the grace of God touches those who are suffering.
“who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
That is what you are! God has called you out of darkness and into his light, his kingdom, his family, and eventually into his presence. This is guaranteed to us. So no matter what this life is like we can be confident of our future, and our future is filled with all kinds of beauty.
There are an endless amount of peaceful days ahead of us, and we can look forward to those days because we have been restored or made perfect in Christ. His sacrifice is our life. It may not feel like we will ever see peaceful days, but one day God will restore everything to the way it is supposed to be. This includes us, as well. He will restore in us the image of Christ completely. This process of restoration has already begun, but it takes time. One of the tools God uses is his Word, so treasure it.
Confirm and Strengthened
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Trials and suffering wear you out. Even those smaller trials like sleepless night with a baby, or a stressful week, can leave you feeling worn out and, in my case, weepy. But God promises that he will be our strength. Don’t try to push through on your own. It won’t work. We will only succeed if we acknowledge our weakness and cling to Christ for his strength. He will gladly give us what we need.
Not only will God give us the strength we need to make it through a trial, but the word “confirm” gives the idea that we, ourselves, will be made stronger so that we can endure future trials even better.
I like how the old English versions use the word “settle.” He will settle us. God will place us on ground that cannot crumble or come crashing down because this foundation is Jesus Christ. Those who are in Christ cannot come to any real harm. The Psalmist points out, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Ps. 118:6)
Trials may take their toll on our bodies and emotions – they may result in broken friendships, difficult days, and many tears – but they cannot take away our faith. As a matter of fact, trials and suffering have the power to strengthen our faith and our love for God if we cling to him.
Even in our suffering there is grace, as God uses our trials for good in the lives of his children (Ro. 8:28). This includes trials and suffering brought about by our own foolishness, as well as the hurt inflicted on us by others.
Remember this: you NEVER suffer without God’s gentle hand of grace upon you.
Looking To Jesus,