And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore you, secure you, strengthen you, and establish you.1 Peter 5:10 BSB
I have been meditating on the above verse for the past couple of days. It’s one of my life verses; one that Holy Spirit brings to mind when I’m in the midst of some difficulty. I remember the first time Holy Spirit highlighted this verse for me. I was in high school. I don’t recall the circumstances. That was over forty years ago. I do however remember that my heart was encouraged. I couldn’t get away from the phrasing, ‘God of all grace…will Himself’. I was just beginning to grasp the concept of the grace of God. Rather, I should say, the grace of God had grasped me. God has had held me in his grasp of grace ever since.
I love God’s faithfulness. All my life, God has been there with me. In times of great trial He was there. In times of rejoicing, in times of persecution, during seasons of abundance and during periods when I thought He had abandoned me He remained faithful and holding me firmly in His grasp. The part I don’t like about this verse is, ‘after you have suffered for a little while’. None of us likes to suffer, even for a little while. Suffering is not my favorite thing to do. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys suffering. I had to learn that suffering will not kill you. I had to learn that suffering has a purpose in our lives. I know, you don’t want to hear that. I didn’t want to hear it either. I probably lost most of you with that statement. Before I continue I want to go on record to say that I don’t believe in staying in an abusive relationship because we might gain some kind of spiritual reward. That’s a bunch of hooey. When it’s in our power to leave abusive relationships I believe we should make every effort to so.
The suffering I’m referring to is that kind that comes to call on each of us from time to time. Ill treatment, something that has pressed us to the max. Suffering is the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. Let’s face it pain is well, painful. Distress is distressing and hardship is frankly, hard. So, no I don’t like that that bit precedes the fact that God Himself will restore, secure, strengthen and establish you. I don’t want to have to go through suffering. Yet, what I believe the apostle Peter is relaying here is that suffering is a fact. It happens to all of us. God may not deliver us from difficulties before we experience any suffering. We’d like to believe that sometimes. It does happen, but not always. It’s my experience that after we suffer for a while the God of all grace comes in with, well, His grace.
Some of us have a hard time accepting that a God of all grace allows His children to suffer. My human rationale can’t comprehend it either. But I do know that every time I have had to face some kind of suffering the God of all grace has stepped in and brought restoration. He strengthened me. I might not have perceived His support in the midst of the suffering, yet afterward I could see that He had been with me all along. Not only was He there but His grace was carrying me through the suffering.
I don’t always see God’s grace, especially when I’m suffering. I don’t know about you but I have been suffering lately. I injured my Achilles tendon two months ago. I am still in pain. It’s not as much as it was when I first injured it but believe me it hurts. I’ve been experiencing other physical difficulties lately as well. Yeah, I’m suffering physical pain in spades. I hate it. I am trying to make the best of it as I trust the Lord and pray my way through this. What I didn’t want to hear as a response to my ardent prayer was, ‘after you have suffered for a little while.’ My soul doesn’t want to hear that. My body is crying out for relief. And before you start telling me I don’t have enough faith, or you have some magic declaration that I can shout to make this go away, I’ve tried all that. I do have faith to believe for healing. It’s easy to pass judgment from the cheap seats. I’ve done that too. It’s not helpful. In fact it’s damaging to the person who is on the receiving end of such religious clap-trap. Okay, I’m done ranting.
Here’s what I know. I know God loves me. I know God heals. I know that God is with me. I know that Jesus took all our infirmities to the cross. I believe that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me, and He will quicken my mortal body. (Rms 8:11) I not only believe in supernatural healing I am the recipient of multiple miraculous healings. I’ve been healed from breast cancer and dyslexia just to name a few. I’ve been healed in prayer meetings. I’ve been healed in worship. I’ve received healing while in my private prayer closet, and in public meetings. I am the grateful recipient of countless healings over the years. I’ve also had times when I have had to walk through suffering and pain. I’ve had times when I had to wait for God to restore, times when I’ve had to linger in agony and languish in extreme situations with seemingly no answer. Yet…
What I’ve learned along the way is that God truly is the God of ALL GRACE. Every ounce of grace comes from God. Grace isn’t unmerited favor. Luke 2:40 states that the grace of God was upon Jesus. Jesus was not the recipient of unmerited favor. If anyone merited God’s favor it was Jesus. Grace is empowerment. It is a supernatural infusion of God’s miracle making blessing.
In the Old Testament the concept of grace and favor are fused in the Hebrew word chen. Chen is translated as both favor and grace. Chen is what Noah, Abraham and Moses found with God. When the whole world had turned to wickedness, it was the chen of God that was extended to Noah sparing him and his family from annihilation. Chen was found by Abraham and he not only enjoyed a special communion with God, but was chosen to father the nation of Israel. Moses found chen with God and the Lord not only revealed to Moses His glory but empowered him to lead the children of Israel through the harsh wilderness. The grace of God is powerful stuff.
Peter points out that it is THE GOD OF ALL GRACE that will restore, secure, strengthen and establish you. Peter was a recipient of God’s grace. He was empowered by God to establish and lead the early church. Peter didn’t just receive a watered down concept diluted in the phrase unmerited favor of God. Peter knew the supernatural miraculous empowerment of God. He understood how the grace of God miraculously restores. He knew first hand that this grace was the power of God imparted to the believer. After all he follows this verse with these words, about the God of all grace:
“To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen”1 Peter 5:11
God has called us to His eternal glory. John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” In this world we will have times of suffering. Take heart. After a little while – GOD HIMSELF WILL RESTORE YOU. GOD HIMSELF WILL SECURE YOU. GOD HIMSELF WILL STRENGTHEN YOU. GOD HIMSELF WILL ESTABLISH YOU.
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.2 Peter 1:2