Church services often end with a benediction. A common one is taken from Peter’s concluding remarks in his first epistle: “May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10). Sometimes omitted in the benediction is the phrase “after you have suffered a while.” Why? Perhaps because it is not pleasant to speak of suffering.
It should not surprise us, however, when suffering comes our way. The apostle Paul, who knew well what it was to suffer, wrote: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).
If we live a life of submission to God (1 Peter 5:6) and resisting the devil (v.9), we can expect to be maligned, misunderstood, and even taken advantage of. But the apostle Peter says that there is a purpose for such suffering. It is to “restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast” (v.10 niv).
God’s path for our Christian growth often leads us through difficulties, but they fortify us to withstand life’s future storms. May God help us to be faithful as we seek to boldly live a life that honors Him.
Afraid of persecution’s frown;
For Thou hast promised faithful ones
That they shall wear the victor’s crown. —Bosch