“And after you have suffered a little while . . .” (1 Peter 5:10).
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There’s a familiar saying that we hear (or use) quite often in every-day conversations: ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’
And, of course, it’s true! Pleasant moments seem to pass by way too fast. And as we get older, the speed at which they go by seems to increase dramatically! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the power to somehow slow down the pace at which our most fulfilling experiences pass!
On the other hand, the experience of time’s passage is exactly the opposite when things are not going so well for us. A troublesome cold or cough seems to ‘linger’ for weeks. It takes ‘forever’ to manage our way through a traffic tie-up on the way to work. We wait ‘days on end’ for that distressing situation at home or at our place of employment to change for the better. Examples of this phenomenon are legion. Time seems to stand still when we are experiencing life’s worst ‘moments.’
Strangely, however, the Word of God has something different to say about this!
What the Apostle Peter claims in the passage quoted above is that, when viewed from the right perspective, our most painful experiences last only “a little while.” And, as is clear from the language used here, it is suffering that passes quickly!
The word rendered “suffered” in verse 10 is indicative of the worst kinds of pain and affliction. Remarkably, this is the same word we find on the lips of Jesus in Mark 8:31 as He describes His mission:
“the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
Peter, then, has in mind whatever we face that causes the deepest experience of pain, either of body or soul, or both at the same time.
So what makes the difference? How can Peter make such a claim?
Again, I believe the answer is perspective.
If we consider the whole verse, we can start to see how this works:
“And after you have suffered a little while,the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
What the Apostle means here is that no experience of suffering is neither meaningless nor endless. The outcome of all suffering, no matter its nature or cause, will be our spiritual restoration, confirmation, strengthening, and establishment! Our gracious Father will do all of this, without fail, every time!
And while the ultimate rescue and confirmation will surely take place when our King returns, I don’t believe that this promise is limited to that Day. Rather, until Jesus comes this will be a repeated experience for each of us who belong to Him.
Over and again, the pathway our Father has ordained for us will take us through troubled territory, even through the “valley of the shadow of death.” But each and every time, without fail, He will be at work bringing about a marvelous result in us.
Every interminable moment of affliction will turn into a joyous experience of unquenchable delight! Beautiful blessings will blossom after the storms of trial subside!
This is the perspective we all need. As Israel’s great king David said,
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
So, my dear Ones, let us be encouraged, and by faith stand upon what our Father has told us. In just “a little while” He will show up in His mighty power and grace! And He will do great and awesome things for us and in us! Time will fly for sure!
I love you all so much, and may our Lord bless you with a glorious Thanksgiving!