1 Peter 5:10-11, “10 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. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
In 1 Peter 5:10-11, Peter brings to a close the main points he wants to communicate to his readers in his first epistle. Today, we are going to see several themes that appear in his letter to remind his readers of the power of God and the temporary nature of trials.
In 1 Peter, Peter has established that all Christians all over the world are facing suffering (1 Peter 5:9). Today, we read that this suffering is only for a “little while” (1 Peter 5:10). By a “little while” Peter could mean that the suffering Christians experience will soon end, but it could also mean the opposite that the sufferings will last for many years or they won’t end in our lifetimes.
To understand Peter’s point, either way, we need to adopt an eternal perspective. After all, when we compare the glory of God to our present situations, we quickly see that whatever happens to us as God’s people in this life, even if we face hardship all of our days, is only for a little while. Even more so, since our lives are but a vapor lasting 70-80 years and sometimes longer or shorter and the Lord knows the length of our days and every hair on our head, we can see truly that this compared to how the Lord views time, our lives are but a vapor. When we face trials and suffering it’s important to keep this perspective in mind because it will help us to see what we are going through today is not for all time but for this present time, and therefore, we can be encouraged to bear our suffering because of these great biblical themes.
The encouragement offered in the previous paragraph that the suffering of the Christian is only a little while was also given by Peter at the beginning of his letter (1 Peter 1:6-7). Like the verses from 1 Peter, 1 Peter 5:10-11 reminds Christians that strength from the Lord comes from our suffering. After our suffering, the Lord God will “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish” us (1 Peter 5:10). The Lord will empower His people to stand firm for Him in the midst of all things, including in trials.
The word “after” may lead us to think that the Lord is not at work in our lives in our trials, but that is not what Peter is communication here. The word used here by Peter to translate the Greek participle is a hard one, but most commentators agree that it is used in the sense in this verse that the Lord begins to strengthen His people in the midst of their trouble. Peter elsewhere teaches that the Lord uses suffering to purify His people (1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12).
Peter closes 1 Peter 5:10-11 helping his readers understand the glory of God and the sovereignty of God, along with the promise of God to establish the people of God (1 Peter 5:11). The surety of every Christian is that in Christ Jesus the promises of God confirms them (1 Peter 5:10), enabling God’s people to join Peter in a doxology. John Calvin writes, since “our calling is founded on Christ and refers to the celestial kingdom of God and a blessed immortality, it follows that it is not transient nor fading.”
In the light of eternity, may we be encouraged and stirred up by way of reminder and instruction that suffering is not the end for the Christian. Suffering is part of the life of the Christian, but it is not the end for the Christian. The goal of suffering is to help you, and I become more like Christ. Whether that suffering is a lifelong thing or a short while, the Lord is with the Christian. He promises never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He is a very present help in time of need and a rock of refuge. Since our lives are but vapors and the Lord knows every hair on our head and the length of days, we don’t have to worry about today or tomorrow or the day after that, and so on. Instead, we can face each day with the help of the Lord, and whether suffering or hardship comes, we can face it in light of eternity.
By beginning to see our suffering this way, it begins to take a new shape, to help us conform to the image of Christ so that we can have a biblical perspective about our suffering. You see, when we understand and trust that you and I will enjoy the glory of God forever as His people, we will be all the more enabled to endure and persevere by the grace of God through our suffering.
Please take some time today to meditate on the glory of God; we will enjoy for all eternity face to face in the Lord Jesus. And while you are at it, read and meditate on today’s passage throughout your day asking the Lord to remind you always of the glory that He is refining you for through your suffering so you will become more like the Lord Jesus each day.