God’s promises when people suffer…

Suffering doesn’t differentiate among its victims—both the child and the retiree get cancer.  The parent lies awake for the choices that their prodigal son or daughter make. Suffering is unavoidable.  

The book of 1 Peter was written as an encouragement to those who were suffering. It concludes with a wonderful verse and four action words that God promises to perform in our lives as we trust him through the difficult times.

And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you into his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).

He will restore. The ESV Study Bible captures it well:

God will eventually restore whatever they have lost for the sake of Christ. Though suffering will come first it will be followed by eternal glory.

That’s beautiful. Is your suffering a result of standing with Jesus? Then whatever you have lost will be returned and more.

He will confirm. This is a word used only here in the entire Bible. It has the idea of strengthening in spiritual knowledge and power. This means there are things to learn from the midst of suffering. There are life lessons in the pain. There are truths you can discover from the suffering that you could have learned no other way.

He will strengthen. Luke tells us that when Jesus was moving towards the crucifixion that he set his face towards Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). Set comes from the same Greek word as strengthen. This is a word of resolve. The Spirit of God is strengthening, purposefully preparing, and readying your will to face the difficulties.

He will establish. The word means to lay a foundation. It is also translated: founded, grounded, and stable. God is in the process of laying a sure foundation for you that will stand against the storms of life. He has no problem laying this foundation while you are in the storms of life. While it may not feel that way now, he is making you stable.

There is no promise today that the suffering will cease or even become more bearable. There is, however, the promise that God will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you, giving the unbearable suffering a sense of purpose.

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