“After you have suffered a little while”, what does the Lord mean by that? I woke up this morning with my heart feeling heavy again. I have been so long in this season that my faith is running on fumes. Seems like I am stuck in a suffering fog bank, and I am only moving about by pure grace.
I have been reading in 2nd Corinthians, but this morning I felt I had to run to 1st Peter again.
Peter seems to relate well to suffering Christians, so here I am again. Made it through all five chapters when I ran across this verse:
1 Peter 5:10
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. NKJV
My immediate thought is, “God what is a little while?” The Greek says that it means that it will be just a brief season. Yes Lord, but brief by earthly standards or brief when compared to eternity? My personal brief by earthly standards definition needs altering.
The longest difficult situation in my life has now gone to almost 12 years. In 2003 I lost my congregation of sixteen years. In 2009 we lost our 6 Million dollar building, my income and all my future financial savings, and with that went all my cars. In 2010 after a painful six month battle, I lost my only granddaughter to a rare type of Leukemia. In 2011 to sum up the years financial battles in one quick example, my electricity was cut on my birthday.
But the Lord says after you have suffered for a little while!
Last month my youngest daughter came back home after a divorce shattered her life. She begins gaining some strength, and we get the good news that my oldest daughter who lost the baby is pregnant again.
Then last week the enemy sucker punched us again and the last thing on anyone’s mind happened. My oldest daughter begins to hemorrhage, suffers a miscarriage, and lands in the hospital. Before you get the idea she did something wrong, let me tell you she is an MD doctor and knows how to take care of herself.
But the Lord says after you have suffered for a little while.
I think Peter is talking mainly about suffering in the body. I am talking about suffering in the soul. I think I would rather experience pain in the body than this gut-punch, inner feeling that the soul experiences after the things I have described to you. It weakens you from within. You continue to move by faith, but you are also conscious that a part of your heart has been ripped out, and it doesn’t feel like you will ever get it back. No, I don’t know what it feels to be ripped apart by a lion, but somehow I think I would rather suffer that then at least that way it would be over quickly.
Yes, I believe I that my two grandchildren wait for me in Heaven. Now how do I deal with my personal weakness and the wounded all around my feet?
The Lord knew how I felt when He looked in anguish around Gethsemane and saw his disciples sleeping. David knew how I felt when he returned to Ziklag only to find his family taken and his home burned to the ground. Then like a final knife to the heart, he watched as his best friends whom he saved from ruin take up rocks to stone him.
1 Sam 30:6
6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. NKJV
I have preached it many times and many a congregation has been blessed by it ,but the question is can I preach it to myself now? Can I remain standing as a beacon of hope for my hurting family? Can I continue to move forward believing that God has my back? I feel like the troops in Afghanistan who are requesting stronger body armor because some of the bullets have gotten through.
But the Lord says after you have suffered for a little while.
What about prayer? Yes, I have been praying, and I have asked some of my closest friends to pray with for me and my family. But that Lion of Judah, demon scattering, earth-shaking prayer has been turned into the cries of a wounded puppy. My flowing intercessory prayers for the nations of the world now come out in short, personal, self-centered S.O.S. bursts. It all I got, and I am not ashamed to be transparent about it with you.
Maybe if leaders had been more real about what they were going through we wouldn’t be seeing the recent exodus out of the church by Christians who just don’t believe that God works for them. Ashamed and feeling guilty, they just disappear.
If there is anything I learned while “pestering” the flock of God for 16 years is that feeding them encouraging sermons Sunday after Sunday made for a very unhealthy spiritual diet because “stuff” really happens. The Church needs to get real. Sometimes the most real we get is when we describe our physical illnesses one to another.
What about the non-physical internal pain?
What about the emotional hurt?
What about our weakened spiritual condition?
What about when the “for a little while” feels like a terminal illness?
But the Lord says after a little while.
The Lord gave me this word a few days ago and on it I stand for His Glory!
2 Cor 12:9-10
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. NKJV
If you find yourself “feeling me” because you are going through your own unexplainable nightmare I hope this word throws you a rope of hope!
You are not alone!
1 Peter 5:9
“knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
The Lord has not abandoned you! After you have suffered He will come for you!
His redemption is near!
Jose L. Bosque
I follow you on Twitter, now here.
Here’s my blog: http://pastorgilsblog.wordpress.com
Thank you Mr. Bosque for your article! I felt alone in what I was facing, Thank you for relating to people’s suffering the way you have. I’m a Christian who have felt the ways you explained in your article about heaven.
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