Today's Reading: 1 Peter 5:6-11
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. (1 Peter 5:10)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When you're in the middle of suffering it seems like time grinds to a halt. A moment can turn into an eternity. But when the suffering has subsided, when you look back on it, you find it was really only a brief moment.
For this reason, when people suffer you'll often hear platitudes like, "This, too, shall pass," which sounds like it's from the Bible, but it's not. The idea is that you should ignore your suffering and look forward to the relief that's to come. But sometimes you wait for relief that never comes. Sure, suffering will nearly always diminish with time, but the big hurts never go away entirely. Ten years after surgery, you still feel pain--and probably will for the rest of your life. Emotional trauma from years ago sticks with you and keeps you awake at night as everyone else continues with their happy lives. This, too, may pass, but it shall not pass completely.
St. Peter writes that suffering is the work of the devil, who prowls around looking for someone to devour. But the answer to suffering isn't a platitude. "Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world" (v 9). There is a spiritual component to suffering--it's one of the devil's tactics to drive you from the faith. "If God lets you suffer, He must not love you," suggests the devil.
But the entire history of the faith is a history of sufferers. Every brother and sister in the faith throughout time has suffered in life. Yet each hurt, each scar, each temptation only serves to point us to our big Brother, Jesus Christ, the One who suffered to the point of death on a cross. But on the third day from His suffering, He became the Firstborn of many brothers when He rose from His grave.
"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." The promise of relief from suffering isn't that it will pass, but that it will drive you to the grave with Christ so that you can rise with Him. The promise you have is the promise of resurrection. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Heavenly Father, grant me endurance to suffer for this little while, and when Your Son returns, let me partake of His eternal glory. Amen.