“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you” (1Pe_5:10).
I want to draw your attention to the specific word, “strengthen.” It is the exact same word that Jesus spoke to Peter before the testing he experienced at the hands of Satan. “When you come through the fiery trial” Jesus told him, “strengthen your brothers.” (see “A Fresh Start” from June 1)
And that is now what Peter is doing. And in so doing he lets us know that the pathway to the polished product is not going to be without some real challenges! “After you have suffered a while,” he writes to us, “Jesus will make you perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
Think about it. Any great artist who wants to make a sculpture that dazzles the multitudes with its beauty, must commit himself to the arduous task of hammering, chiseling, shaping, sanding, polishing and perfecting the work until it is ready to be revealed.
If an artist will go to such lengths over a single sculpture, what makes you think God is any less committed to you?
The day of your revealing is set and secured by God’s relentless resolve. However, between now and that day, the hammer has to drop, and the chisel has to cut.
There are many things in and about you that need to be removed; some go easy, falling away like autumn leaves in the wind. But some are so embedded into the stone of your soul that it requires many masterful blows to dislodge them. And God is not stopping until they are gone.
So, though you are called to glory, and will indeed make it there, you must nevertheless “suffer a while.” But never lose sight of this truth: God is completing us; putting on the finishing touches before our grand debut in the high courts of heaven.
One translation says, “God, who shows you his kindness and who has called you through Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as you suffer for a little while” (1Pe_5:10, God’s Word). This is a wonderful and encouraging thought, and it is true to the ways of the Lord. He blesses us with His presence AS we are going through great difficulty.
Peter would know this better than anyone. On that dark night when he betrayed the Lord, his soul was plunged into a deep pit of despair. And when Jesus died, all hope ended for Simon Peter. But then, on the Third Day, Jesus rose from the dead and Peter was born anew to a living hope!
That’s why we can believe it when he tells us that the Lord “will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as you suffer for a little while.” It is what Jesus did for Peter, and He will do the same for you.
You can trust the Lord to get the job done — even though you suffer for a little while.