Suffering Saints

“But 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.” I Peter 5: 10.

Who wants to suffer? Absolutely no sane person. Who is going to suffer? Absolutely everyone! That being true, it is expedient to get a better understanding of it.

Times of suffering have the potential to make us either bitter or better.

Observe the word order in this verse: first the suffering, then the glory! First, the Cross, then the Crown. In short, believers are to live with the understanding that God’s purpose realized in the future requires some pain in the present.

The Greek word “pascho” means to undergo an experience or experience a sensation including painful, usually difficult circumstances. It is the same verb used to describe the suffering of Christ in I Peter 2:21.

The very trials which may appear to be the means Satan employs for our destruction are the means God employs for our deliverance and development. Behind our opposition stands Satan seeking to devour us, and behind Satan stands God, sure to perfect and purify us.

(A personal word. I suffer from severe chronic pain with other secondary pains. I am still trying to find God’s purpose with little success. Just knowing God has a purpose, though I don’t know it, is consoling and comforting.)

Suffering can either cause you to grow or grumble in the Christian life. You choose for yourself which. Which do you think pleases our loving Lord?

The Greek word “oligos,” translated “little while” is a relative term meaning the exact amount of time varies. Regardless of the length or severity, He has a purpose in it. It may simply be to give us occasion to testify of His sufficiency. That in itself is very significant. However, if a person uses the occasion to complain, there is no positive witness, nor ultimate reward. Though it may seem at times as though it can’t be endured, He will not tempt you beyond the grace He will provide for you. Even a lifetime of suffering is short compared to eternity.

Exhibit A of suffering with the right attitude are the disciples who were beaten for testifying for Jesus. Keep in mind that beating hurt them as bad as it would you.

Then it is said of them: “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5: 41)

When we are in the “Refiner’s fire” the trials and/or suffering do not feel short, but long. That being our nature, we should consider our suffering in the context of eternity. This life is stamped “temporarily out of order.” Good news! A day is coming when the Great Repairman will put all things in order for eternity.

We all suffer and at times don’t do it well, but resolve to live an overall  lifestyle in order to hear the Master say, 

“…Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25: 21)