“And then, after your brief suffering, the God of all loving grace, who has called you to share in his eternal glory in Christ, will personally and powerfully restore you and make you stronger than ever. Yes, he will set you firmly in place and build you up.” | 1 Peter 5:10 (The Passion Translation)
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In a world that is fallen, suffering is an inevitable part of life. It comes in all forms - loss, sickness, financial struggle, betrayal. If you are yet to experience any form of suffering, chances are you probably will at some point in the future. As I write this, I’m currently walking through a challenging season in the area of health. Strange to say, but I am beginning to recognise the blessings that come from suffering. I know, it sounds contradictory but God’s Kingdom defies our human logic! His thoughts and ways are much higher than our own. Though I would not wish suffering upon anyone, I believe that it is the greatest gift when it comes to a relationship with God.
It’s in the midst of suffering that your faith is challenged, you ask the big questions of life and if you look to God, you discover that He is your only hope. In moments of desperation, when your flesh may be weak, doubts creep into your mind and disappointment threatens to take over - those are the moments to hold on to the promises of God.
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To hold on to the promises of God, we need to know the promises of God. That means reading His Word daily and feeding on it. Like the food we eat to survive, God’s Word is food for the soul we need to thrive. As I turn to the Word of God, I am reassured of many truths that are highlighted in the scripture from 1 Peter...
1. God is gracious
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” | Romans 8:31
While it may be tempting to blame God when when we become the victim of suffering, I’ve learned that nothing good comes out of turning our back against our greatest ally. God, by His very nature, is good. Everything He does is good. Therefore, I don’t believe it’s His intention to watch us suffer. But He does use it for good (Romans 8:28) and to draw us closer to Him (James 4:8).
The whole premise of the Christian faith is grace - the unmerited, undeserved favour of God. It’s because of God’s mercy and forgiveness that we are able to receive His grace. It’s when we’re tested that we truly begin to understand that God’s grace is sufficient. He gives us grace for each day, no matter how daunting it may seem.
2. God restores
“Then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God’s face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being.” | Job 33:26
“The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” | James 5:15
There are a great number of verses in the Bible that point to the restorative nature of God. He is not only a God who builds, but also One who restores. In a season of hardship, it seems like everything is falling to pieces. In some cases, it is! Nevertheless, I’m grateful for a God who doesn’t stand on the sidelines, leaving us to pick up the pieces ourselves. No, His compassion and love for us moves Him to restore what has been broken.
3. God confirms
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,” | 2 Corinthians 1:20-21
God doesn’t just restore us from our brokenness, He lifts us up and sets us firmly in a place where our faith has a stronger foundation. We are better equipped to stand firm against the schemes of the enemy, who will no doubt try to take us out again in the future, as long as we decide to follow the will of God.
4. God strengthens
“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” | 1 Samuel 30:6
Every time I think of drawing strength from the Lord, my mind goes back to David. Aside from Job’s situation (see the book of Job, heavy stuff!), I see David’s experience as some serious suffering. Being rejected by his loved ones, chased down by King Saul (a father figure) and his army of men and fearing for his life! Yet in his distress, David found strength in God.
There are some things we face that we cannot fully overcome without God’s strength. We can try and exercise all the wisdom in the world, employ effective strategies, exert all our effort and that may get us somewhere but still leave us depleted. A reliance on God’s supernatural strength is what enables us to walk through it and see the other side, stronger than ever.
5. God establishes
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” | Proverbs 16:9
To ‘establish’ means to build or bring into being on a stable/permanent basis. When we encounter a season of suffering it can feel like a setback or a detour, as though it has come as a delay for us stepping into God’s promises for our lives. However, as I’ve said in previous posts, I believe there is a purpose in every season.
If we invite God to walk with us, we go deeper in our relationship with the Father, we see things from His perspective and we become the person He has called us to be in order to step into our destiny. When we do emerge into a brighter day: (a) it’s God who will rebuild and establish His plans for our lives; (b) it’s God who can bring about supernatural acceleration; and (c) it’s God who will always have our back.
Whether you’re going through a season of suffering now or you do in the future, I strongly encourage you to turn to 1 Peter 5:10 (plus other promises of God) and allow God to minister to you in a personal and powerful way!
Are there other bible verses you turn to for hope during difficult times? If so, please share them in the comments below!