“And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make
you strong, firm and steadfast.”
1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
Every parent smiles when they hear the phrase, “Are we there yet?” Our children find it difficult when they go on a journey to sit and enjoy the ride. They soon become impatient with the journey and start asking if the destination will soon appear on the horizon.
Of course, there are times when parents can become impatient themselves, as children ask time and again if the journey is soon to end. For the children it is torture to have to sit for hours on end with only a few moments relief from time to time during the trip.
In our verse today Peter is speaking about how we all must have a time of suffering before God makes us “strong, firm and steadfast.” In other words it seems that the things we need in order to endure suffering only come to us after we have suffered “a little while”.
Would it not be better to be endowed with all the needed strength and power to live effectively before the need for those attributes comes our way? That sounds good but it is not true to life.
When a young man seeks to build up his body mass he must exercise the muscle tissue until the exercise causes “micro tears”. These tiny ruptures in the muscle tissue are repaired by the body and the muscle grows through this rebuilding process.
What is true in the physical world around us is also true in our spiritual lives. Those who have a great faith, a strong sense of God’s direction, an intimacy with the Lord, are those who have suffered most and successfully endured the trial of their faith. We consider people like C.H. Spurgeon who was possibly the greatest preacher ever in the English speaking world, yet he suffered terrible bouts of depression that incapacitated him for months at a time. His greatly beloved wife was an invalid for much of their married life.
Those whom God uses greatly He leads through the furnace of affliction. The price of spiritual intimacy with the Lord is tribulation of the worst kind. Yet those who have paid dearly for such a union with the Lord will always say they do not regret the cost.
Today you might have to look back on great trials of your faith. Can you say that you have grown in grace through those difficulties? Was the grace of God truly amazing as the Lord came to you with wonderful assurances of His presence? May you learn to be content in any state so that the Lord may become your great treasure (Phil. 4:11).
Job 23:10 (NIV)
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me,
I will come forth as gold.