Suffering Leading To Blessings
How do you respond when you suffer? What do you think? Do you blame God or yourself, or someone else? There is no escape from intense pressures in this life, but it helps to understand and see the end of it all by getting our Lord into the picture.
The apostle Peter wrote to a group of suffering Christians with words of encouragement. “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
“After you have suffered for a little,” says Peter. The suffering is temporary, in contrast and comparison to the eternal glory that is in store for the believer.
Before God blesses us there often come times of trouble, distress, grief and pain. We can give thanks knowing the suffering is for a short time. It occurs so we will learn something by it, or be cleansed of our faults through it. Out of the suffering comes blessings that cannot be had any other way.
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Our suffering is temporary, but it produces in us character that will last throughout eternity.
God equips believers for His service through suffering. He strengthens character in the fires of pressure. In the process of the suffering, we think and pray and come to new realizations as the Holy Spirit works miracles in our mind. We are cleansed of our evil thoughts and purified. Christianity is more than worshipping God’s suffering son. It is more than being forgiven of our sins. It is a process, a rocky up-hill climb, by which we are made stronger of mind and our minds are purified. Ultimately, Christianity leads to purity of thought, and out of pure thought comes pure, loving, God-like behaviors and actions. (Praise God!)
“After you have suffered for a little while,” indicates the blessings come only after we submit to the refiner’s fire. We cannot disregard the sufferings.
Who will bless us? “The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ . . .” He is faithful and consistent in the way He treats us. He is the “God of all grace.” Everything He does will be consistent with His eternal glory. Whatever He begins in His grace will lead to His glory. What He begins He will see through to completion. One day He will say, “Come to Me you sinners whom I purchased with my terrible suffering and sacrificial blood! Come into My eternal glory.”
We have been called! Called, not just to eternal glory, but God “called you to His eternal glory in Christ.” He called you and me; we sinners saved by His manifold grace, to His eternal glory. He called us to that very glory and honor in which the LORD God invests Himself forever.
This is why He is to be honored as our king and teacher forever. It is his glory and honor for which he paid so as to rescue us!
Yes, we who have “sinned and come short of the glory of God” are called into His holy presence dressed in His robes of righteousness. Washed and covered with his sacrifice as if The Lord God sees us through a filter that removes all sin so we can be accepted as righteous, dressed properly for the marriage of The Church to The Christ.
The promise is “in Christ,” and to His glory. Everything comes through Christ. He is the atmosphere or climate of the whole Christian life.
He gives us grace to meet every situation in life (Heb. 4:16). The standing invitation is “Come unto Me all you that are weary and heavy laden.”
Come you who are persecuted for righteousness sake; come you who are weary, tired, tortured, painful of body and emotion; broken of spirit with no certainty of your life’s direction! Come you who are suffering for the cause of Christ; come you who are ravaged by a terrible disease. Come Ye who have seen the worst man can do to his fellow man at the behest of Satan and suffer for it. The Christ Jesus gives kindness, healing, hope and a grand future, out of His infinite generosity and grace. God gives us His strength to meet the demands of life.
He is the God of all grace—Life Restoring grace, pardoning grace, cleansing grace, believing grace, sustaining grace, sovereign grace. The God of all grace, many forms of grace, has a storehouse that never runs out. It is infinite, boundless, limitless, amazing grace. As He meant when he told Moses, “I Am” he is all he needs or wants to be, and he is your ever present help in times of trouble. He will be to you all you need for him to be.
Plant that thought in your mind now and forever. Curl your fingers into the weave of His Robe and refuse to let go! He will be to you all you need for him to be for you, at any moment, even unto suffering and death, because in that death if you refuse to renounce him, your reward in Heaven will be great and eternal.
Out of that constant supply of saving and sanctifying=(made sacred) grace, God does a marvelous work in us. His goal is to “perfect” us.
It is like to try gold in a fire. The impurities float to the surface and are removed and what is left is perfect, 100% gold. So in the same way we, through our suffering are tried, purified, perfected, and made perfect even as The Father In Heaven is perfect. This will not happen “overnight.” It may not happen in the entire lifetime but the process in some way will continue, I believe, eternally.
The word for “perfect” in the original means to equip, to adjust, and to fit together, “to put into order, to mend, to make whole.” It is also used for mending of torn fishing nets, and the “setting a broken bone.” Everything that happens in our Christian life is used to conform us to Christ. Whatever God has begun He will complete in the day of Christ. God will make us just like Christ. Shall God fail in His eternal purpose? Never. And He will not in your life or mine. That is an impossibility because, by definition, God is perfect and cannot produce anything less than perfect. If then something is born or made imperfect it was damaged by evil forces. God is not to blame.
You cannot be perfected except by the refiner’s fire. God uses the rod to chastise His children. Nothing but the rod will remove the foolishness in our lives. The Holy Spirit uses these fires to remove every corruption within. How is God restoring your torn nets, and re-setting your broken skeleton so that it may be formed into the perfect shape?
God uses stress to set up, fix firmly, to establish and strengthen the believer. “Confirm,” or “establishment” is to make solid like granite.
God tempers us in the hot fires of suffering. Sufferings make us steadfast. It secures and stabilizes us and makes us mature believers. Suffering has a way of focusing our eyes on Christ, and off of ourselves. Pressures in our lives force us to rest upon the Rock of Ages. Our hope is fixed upon His blood and His righteousness. We cannot be established on the solid foundation without suffering.
People the world over now are seeing a financial polarization. There are very rich and painfully poor and the “middle class” is disappearing. Pity the rich for they will not suffer on earth but rather will suffer eternally because they followed Satan’s way. Praise God for the difficulty, because with the difficulty one sees ways through the days and nights and comes to new opportunities, new employment, new skills, a way to be contented even with “almost nothing,” and in good time one realizes he is more than content, s/he has a happy attitude and a joy over his/her life that surpasses any rich person’s understandings!
Peter also prays that the suffering we whom he teaches, will produce a solid foundation for spiritual growth. Suffering strengthens us spiritually. We gain new strength by wrapping ourselves in The Lord’s robe. We fill our mind and our life with God and The Righteous Way of Jesus the Christ. He gives us the strength to bear up under incredible suffering.
When we depend upon God’s grace our suffering will glorify God. The Christian learns to face life with the sense that God is all he really needs.
Observe the Christian who has God with him/her.
It becomes obvious, God strengthens His people as they undergo suffering. He gives us grace and power in time of need. As we submit to Him, give our lives to Him, He gives us the grace we need for the moment and the future, all of which leads to the eternally joyous future, the pleasures of which surpass any man’s ability to explain.
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