"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. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." -- 1 Peter 5:10–11 (emph. added)
More than two decades ago, the novel This Present Darkness became immensely popular, and I decided to read it after hearing so many people talk about it. As I sat reading the book, the tension continued to build until I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to know what happened. So, finally, when I felt I couldn’t take it any longer, I turned to the back of the book to read the ending.
Why did I do that?
Because, the better the ending the less necessary the tension. When I know something will end well, I don’t have to fret as much in the middle.
This life is filled with tension, pain, and heartache. This life is filled with suffering. Now, the suffering that Peter particularly has in mind in this passage is suffering as a result of one’s allegiance to Jesus Christ. It is righteous suffering.
Living for Jesus Christ will bring its fair share of difficulties. Anyone committed to Jesus will eventually be put into a position socially whereby they have to choose between fulfilling the desires of others or following Jesus Christ. Following Christ will inevitably place certain relationships at risk and create criticism, shunning, abandonment, or in some cases, outright hatred resulting in immanent physical danger.
Difficult circumstances relentlessly crash on the shores of my life seeking to drag me out to the deep seas of despair. It can be suffocating and deadly, yet a counter weight exists, a beacon guiding me safely to a harbor for refuge in the arms of God. It’s the promise of a glorious future guaranteed to all God’s children.
The deeper the confidence that God has a glorious future for me, the less I despair in the dark moments of life.
First Peter reminds us that despite the tension this life brings believers have a guaranteed glorious future with Jesus Christ in the age to come. The momentary afflictions of this world will not compare to the eternal glory that awaits God’s children.
This passage in Peter reminds me of this future glorious reality and helps tether my heart to the anchor of God’s Kingdom beckoning me to faithfully push through the surge of the storm.