“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.”
though now for a little while
Sorrows last only for a season. Peter presents a perspective on suffering. It is an eternal perspective. Even if we suffered for our entire life, in the light of eternity, it would be but a little while.
Suffering lasts for a short season. It is only for a “little while.”
Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Some of us have more trouble than others. The more we suffer here, the greater the reward hereafter.
1 Peter 5:10, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Seasons of suffering will pass. Winter is here; spring will come; we will enjoy summer.
If we suffer from loneliness, we are in our late 40s, and it does not appear that we will marry, it still is only for a little while. If our bodies are racked with disease and pain, it is for a little while. Time is little in comparison to eternity.
God designs suffering with time parameters.
Winter is here, but spring is coming. God knows how much we are able to suffer. Although we may face deep waters now, they will eventually recede.
God knows when suffering is necessary. He knows when we need encouragement. He knows when we need pressure. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.
Some people say, “Why does this have to happen to me?” We think that we get more than our fair share of pain. Yet it could be worse. Look at the pain of some others. They face far greater difficulty than we do. God knows they have the character to take it. On the other hand, they may be too rebellious for him to take off the pressure.
Trouble will not continue without end. The difficulty we presently face will look different a year from now. You may face slander or gossip. This will pass. You may be in deep financial waters. It will eventually pass. You may fear the future. We fear what we cannot see. God’s sustaining grace can meet any situation.
God measures out a certain amount of trial to each of us (1 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 2:21). We each will get our share. The trial will do us good. Medicine does not usually taste good. Bitter experiences taste bad. We cannot always have things our way. God has a purpose for everything.
Most of us react to trouble as if trouble was not in God’s design for us. We sing the blues. We get out the crying towel. We push the panic button. From our reaction, you’d think God was dead. Our spiritual reflexes are not very good.
Our children watch us and wonder. They can detect inconsistency in us. In the process, we mark them indelibly when they are young and impressionable. They cannot see what our faith does for us. When they grow up, they drop out of the church. We gave the impression that God is dead. You did not mean to do it, but you did it anyway.
God is training us for eternity. This is boot training down here. Some of the lessons are hard to learn. Some lessons are bitter. At times we flunk the course, and God makes us retake it.
God wants us to view trial from his vantage point. When we look at our problems from his viewpoint, they look insignificant. If we stand at the mouth of the Grand Canyon from the south rim, it looks immense. We cannot see it all. However, if we fly over the canyon, from 30,000 feet, it seems like a hole in the ground. The difference is the perspective from which we view it. Like viewing the Grand Canyon from the south rim, our problems look vast. When we look at those problems from God’s viewpoint, we put them in perspective.