Today in the midst of a 45-minute message, this phrase jumped out at me: I Peter 5:10: “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.”
Peter writes this to people who are being severely tested for their faith. After talking about salvation, sanctification and subjection in the first 2 1/2 chapters, he addresses suffering in the rest of the book. He concludes the book with a final word, a benediction, quoted above.
“After you have suffered a little while…” Note the additional words in italics.
This pandemic has really cost me a lot of suffering. The restaurants are closed, the pool and exercise rooms are closed, choir and church were shut down, we have been asked to refrain from inviting folks to visit us in our apartments, for weeks I had to have my temperature taken just to get back on the grounds, etc. I have to wear a mask and gloves. I am really suffering. Poor me. It’s been terrible!
In these verses, Peter is specifically addressing the idea of suffering for your faith. In our situation, there is much suffering, not because we are Christians, but as Christians, even as the rest of society. God did not exempt us.
People we know, or know of, have been very ill, have lost their jobs, have lost loved ones, have been separated from family and friends for months even though they are in the same building, because of quarantine have had serious surgeries postponed, have had travel to see distant family cancelled or postponed, have had their ministries greatly hindered or even permanently closed, or had friendships shattered because of political disagreement over the government’s handling of the situation.
How this works out in individual cases is beyond me, but look at the conclusion: “…will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” The songwriter put it this way, “…strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…”
There is hope. We are learning new lessons and appreciation for many of the things we had before but didn’t appreciate. Trust and perseverance will make us stronger on the other side of the suffering.
Andre Crouch said it so eloquently in his song, “Through It All.”
“I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
There’ve been times I didn’t know right from wrong.
But in every situation
God gave blessed consolation
That my trials come to only make me strong.
“Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His word.
“I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I never had a problem,
I’d never know that He could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do.
“Through it all…”
“After you have suffered a little while…”
Written By Neil Fichthorn: Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.