“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.”
after you have suffered
God does not exempt Christians from suffering. We expect this in God’s economy. God designs all suffering to bless the believer.
Peter asks Asian Minor Christians to consider their suffering before it comes. View suffering from principle first. Then view it from experience secondly. The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared.” God wants us to prepare ourselves for disaster. Face your suffering before it comes.
Christians who understand God’s plan in suffering orient to a perspective that transcends the immediate suffering.
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).
”If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).
The same furnace that liquefies gold hardens clay.
Note the contrast with God’s “eternal glory.” Our suffering is only for a little “while,” but our life with God is eternal. The principle is to keep the eternal perspective in view when you enter suffering.
Suffering is only for a “while.” It is not interminable. Eternal perspective is important when we enter a trial. Sometimes it feels like our problems continue without cessation. However, God measures our suffering with eternal precision. He places boundaries and limits to the suffering we must face. In His sovereignty, He understands what each of us needs to grow spiritually.
Keep the eternal perspective in view when you enter deep suffering.
God designs periods of prosperity and periods of suffering. Therefore, God’s design for suffering in our lives is not forever. God puts a limit on our suffering.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Suffering sometimes seems like it goes on for eternity, but God places a limit to it.
No Christian is exempt from suffering. No Christian is immune to disease. The Christian grows by suffering. God brings suffering into our lives to draw us closer to Himself. When we keep this in view, we orient to God’s eternal perspective on suffering.
“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” (Romans 8:18).
There is a great deal of suffering that God’s people go through that no one knows anything about. There are mental anguishes, domestic problems, and parenting problems they just cannot share with just anyone.
Few people may know the burden someone near you may carry. That is where you come in. You can assume someone is having trouble. You can then give him an encouraging word. The African-American spiritual goes like this, “No one knows the trouble I’ve seen,” that is, no one but Jesus. It is wonderful to know that He understands our problems. However, it is also nice to know a Christian cares as well.