Last night we finished up our last major study in 1 Peter, chapter 5. Coming to verse 10 we read:
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (NIV 1984)
This truly has been my favorite verse in all of 1 Peter, one that we memorized last year, and again this year. Maybe even my favorite verse in our entire memory list this year. We have memorized many passages about God’s salvation, God’s care for us, God will sustain us, God will comfort us (2 Cor 1:3-7 is very dear too), be strong, don’t be afraid, stand firm and so forth. But 1 Peter 5:10 directly addresses our suffering, that He allows it for awhile, and then He himself will restore us.
I have generally thought of suffering as “persecution” or perhaps personal tragedy, and so dismissed many passages about suffering as not applying to me – that is, I may need them in the future, but I certainly am not being persecuted here and now. Perhaps though, one could consider mental/ emotional distress as suffering as well? I feel it a GREAT weakness on my part – for though I am not truly suffering compared with so many Believers who are persecuted around the world, and yet I am so distracted, sometimes even disabled by it.
However we view suffering, there are promises in this verse for me. Not only does this verse say that God Himself will do these things – but that he will allow us to suffer for awhile, and then restore us, and then give the strength. Of course I know that he is always with us – I rely on it! But there is a sense in this verse that through our sufferings we may become weakened, as in having come through a battle – tired and torn and damaged – and that He himself will repair us.
Our Greek word studies this week are all from this verse. The Greek words used in this passage are so similar, and the use in the various translations terribly confusing to get straight – restore/perfect, strong/confirm, firm/strengthen, steadfast/establish … for casual reading, the words are all encouraging, and we certainly get the idea. But needing to know the true meaning of the original Greek words used in the text, we really had to look hard at these words and related verses.
God himself will prepare and restore me (katartízo-): the torn net mended, the broken bone set, the storm battered ship repaired and ready for service.
God himself will stabilize (ste-rízo-) my faith. Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses arms during battle and made them steady – God will support me, and make my faith fixed. Just as Peter was told to strengthen (ste-rízo-) his brothers after Satan had sifted him, and when he had turned back, I too will be able to strengthen others.
God himself will fill me with his strength (sthenóo-) to endure. What the enemy has planned to weaken me, God will use to strengthen me – I will be made more able, more capable.
And finally, God himself will establish (themelióo-) my faith, laying a foundation of rock that the wind and the waves have no effect on, and the roaring of the enemy cannot intimidate.
In my life: I am going through an emotional battle of feeling unable, overwhelmed, facing fear and discouragement. And God is allowing it. He has not taken it away. And I may well be injured, damaged, weakened in the process. But in a little while, God himself will repair all the damage. Because of this suffering, God himself will tend to me. What an amazing thought.
Credits: many of these thoughts came from comments and quotes found at www.preceptaustin.org/1_peter_510-14.htm
Greek definitions: www.biblos.com