“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. God designs all suffering to bless the believer. We should expect this in his economy.
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 align themselves to an eternal perspective, a viewpoint that transcends immediate suffering.
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).
The same furnace that liquefies gold hardens clay.
” If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).
Note the contrast with God’s “eternal glory” with the words “a while.” 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 suffer.
Suffering is only for a “while.” It is not interminable. Eternal perspective is essential when a Christian enters a trial. Sometimes it feels like our problems continue without cessation. However, God measures our suffering with eternal precision. He places boundaries and limits on the suffering we must face. In His sovereignty, He understands what we need to grow spiritually.
Eternal viewpoint keeps the Christian’s suffering in proper perspective.
Keep the eternal perspective in view when you enter deep suffering. Sometimes anguish seems like it goes on without termination, but God places a limit on it. He designs periods of prosperity and periods of grief. Therefore, his 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).
No Christian is exempt from suffering. No believer 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 that they do not share with just anyone.
Few people may know the burden someone near them may carry. That is where the compassionate believer comes in. We can then give them an encouraging word. The African-American spiritual says: “No one knows the trouble I’ve seen, 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.