Suffering is a peculiar situation for the Christian to manage. We’re living our lives, serving Jesus and then out of nowhere we collide with suffering. It comes in various forms and affects us in many ways. We can suffer emotional anguish over the loss of a loved one, a prodigal child, or a painful relationship. We can suffer tangible physical pain hindering us from fulfilling the call of God on our lives. In these places we’re not sure if we should fight or surrender….pray to God or rebuke the devil…..press in hard or rest in Him. This has been my journey for the last three years as I’ve experienced a season of unresolved severe physical pain. I have a stack of index cards of scriptures I read regularly one of them being
I Peter 5:10: But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered awhile PERFECT, ESTABLISH, STRENGTHEN AND SETTLE YOU.
PERFECT: To complete thoroughly, adjust, fit, frame, mend, prepare, restore
Fire is the agent that makes a shoe fit a horses hoof…it causes rigid materials to become pliable…it causes gold to become pure.
ESTABLISH: Set fast, to turn resolutely in a certain direction, to confirm, steadfastly set
The sobering element of suffering causes us to take stock of what we’re doing and where we’re going. Trivial concerns that were once front and center in bright bold colors seem to fade to the background. Priorities come into order.
STRENGTHEN: Confirm in spiritual strength and power
When a situation is so big that our own strength isn’t enough, we’re forced to look UP instead of IN….giving God the opportunity to show Himself mighty rather giving us the opportunity to show what a “strong woman” we are.
SETTLE: To lay a basis for, erect, consolidate, ground
Before cement can be laid it has to be stirred and churned in a ferocious spin. Then it is poured out….then it sets…a foundation to build on.
I wish I could say that I’m happily in the AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED AWHILE phase. But this is what I’ve learned: He is making me beautiful.
My daughter was married last summer and all the preparation….the perfect dress …..the perfect hair….the perfect flowers and countless other details were all for one specific moment- when she entered the doorway and her husband to be beheld his beloved.
We are going to be a beautiful Bride.
Rev. 21:9 Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
Rev 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.