After You Have Suffered for a Little While

1 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.

Isn’t the concept of time strange?!  Each minute is exactly the same; 60 unchanging seconds, yet in context those 60 seconds can take an eternity, or they can fly by.  Think of sporting events which rely on a clock.  Picture a soccer game, a hockey game, or many other sports.  Your team is up by a score with sixty seconds on the clock.  That clock could not move any slower.  “There has to be something wrong with the scoreboard.  Time cannot move that slowly!”.  However, for players, coaches or fans on the other side, it is the exact opposite.  Time is flying by as they desperately try to scratch out the tying or winning points.  “There has to be something wrong with the scoreboard.  Time cannot move that quickly!”.  Again, sixty seconds are sixty seconds and they never change, however our perspective changes everything.

As a child I used to find that time moved so slowly.  I looked forward to the next grade, playing on the next team, being able to do things my older siblings could do. Today I blink and I find another candle on my birthday cake (truth be told, they’ve run out of room).  But there are exceptions to that.  I find that when I, or we as a family, are in the midst of pain and suffering, time seems to stand still.  “Will this ever end?”. 

In today’s scripture Peter alludes to the concept of time.  “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.” (1 Peter 5:10).  The words, “suffered for a little while” stood out to me.  There are times where we suffer for a little while, but I have also heard stories of those who have suffered for their entire lives.  How can Peter call that “a little while”?  The answer is that Peter had an inspired, godly perspective when he penned these words.  It is in keeping with scripture throughout the Bible.  In Psalm 90:4, Moses prays:  “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night”, and further in verse 10, he says: “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” 

Moses would likely not win many inspirational speech awards with that last gem, but as I get older, I recognize the wisdom in his words.  I have seen much trouble and sorrow in my life and in the lives directly around me, and certainly in the world.  I have, however, also come to understand the brevity of life.  I am completely secure in knowing that if my life ended today, I would be sitting with my father in heaven (not a bad proposition), yet as of now he wants me here to accomplish the good works he has prepared in advance for me (Ephesians 2:10).  The apostle Paul had it figured out when he wrote: 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.“ (Philippians 1:23-24)

God controls time.  If he chooses to allow us to suffer for a short or a long time, it is inconsequential in the scheme of eternity.  God always keeps his promises, and he says: “after you have suffered a little while, [he] will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”.  (1 Peter 5:10b).  And through it all God offers us his peace (John 14:27, John 16:33), and his joy (Romans 15:13).

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