The book of First Peter shows us many truths about Christian suffering. "Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good" (1 Peter 4:19). Peter gives us instructions for when we suffer 'according to God's will.' This phrase alone should fill us with strength and comfort. When suffering comes to the believer, Satan has not slipped a punch in on God and taken him by surprise. We can rest in our sovereign God.
Peter also reminds us of the glorious salvation God has worked in us. Then he says, 'In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6-7). What wonderful truths to help us in times of suffering! We see that:
- Our sufferings are for "a little while." They won't last forever. Even if they lasted the rest of our lives (as some do) we look ahead to an eternity of glory with our Savior! Compared to that, the sufferings of this present age are only "a little while."
- Our sufferings only come "if necessary." Praise God! They haven't come for nothing! An infinitely wise and loving God has deemed it necessary. He knows what it will take to conform us to the image of Christ, which is the goal (Romans 8:28-30).
- Our suffering has come to test the "genuineness of (our) faith." Progressive sanctification involves testing and trials. In them, our faith is purged from the junk that is in us. He is using suffering for our good! ("For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" [2 Cor 4:17, NKJV] - our suffering is WORKING FOR US!).
- Our suffering will result in "praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Hallelujah!
Let us trust our God when suffering comes, and let us endure with joy - eyes fixed on Jesus; who suffered for us to bring us to God.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18).