Only for a while
Text: 1 Peter 5:10-11
There is no doubt one question going on in the hearts of many of us, considering the current pandemic, is how long? I was also asking one of my Pastors on our return from a programme some days, how long shall we continue to wear masks? I am aware that a pandemic of this sort that occurred in 1918 lasted for about 2 years. So the question is how long we shall continue to grapple with the new normal? May be in your own case, it is about a problem you are dealing with personally and you are asking how long? In our passage of today, I have a GOODNEWS for you. It is ONLY FOR A WHILE. (1 Pet. 5:10). Nothing in this world lasts forever, including coronavirus and your personal problems. It shall only be for a while. According to 1 Peter 5:10, God in His own wisdom might allow His own to suffer but only for a while. It shall not last beyond the time God has permitted. Why He permits such, only He knows and we cannot question Him. But we can take solace in His re-assuring word, only for a while.
The Blessings Of Our Trials
One clear revelation of this passage is that God does not allow his own to suffer for nothing. When He allows such like this to happen, He brings something better, bigger, larger, greater and higher out of it. So shall be our testimony. Four things are mentioned here, as things God will do though some theologians believe that, it is only one thing that is actually accomplished in three ways. They opined that perfection is the goal and the means of achieving perfection are establishment, strengthening and settlement. I agree with this opinion though these four things are listed separately in the scripture. The key word is PERFECTION. May you have a testimony of perfection at the end of this pandemic.
The Greek word here is not the popular word “téleios” but “katartízō,” which literally means “put in order, complete thoroughly or fully equip” just as a soldier is equipped for warfare. There are many things that are required to equip a soldier beyond his armour, his sword and his shield. Topmost is his bodily frame and this does not come easily. But when the process is completed, he will be fully ready for that which is before him. May the Lord do the work of perfection in our lives. The three other things God will do are:
• Establish You – The Greek word is “stērízō“ and it is more rendered, “to make stable, place firmly or consolidate.” This is the first part of the threefold process: the consolidation of the Christian character, making us firm in all parts of our spiritual frame. May the Lord make you firm.
• Strengthen You – The Greek word is “sthenóō” meaning “make strong or strengthen of one’s soul.” This is strength with consolidation. There are many things that are firm or standing, but are not consolidated or strong. God’s goal is to make us strong.
• Settle You – This to me, this is the icing on the cake. The Greek word is “themelióō” meaning “to lay a basis for something.” After we have been established and strengthened, we shall be settled. May the Lord settle you during and after this pandemic.
There are two sides to suffering. Suffering is indeed, in justice i.e. the punishment for sin. But suffering could also be in mercy, the correction of our wanderings. God needs to wither our comforts or to interrupt our enjoyment of them so that we can see their insufficiency and remember there are better blessings awaiting us. There is no way of removing the dross from the gold but through the flames of the furnace of affliction. But it is only for a while (Romans 8:18). I see greater glory ahead. Our call as believers is to stay positive at all times and in all circumstances. It is going to be for a while, but something greater will come out of it. It is a process of our perfection, completion or consummation. So, hold on, pray more, stay positive, stay faithful and stay strong. There is a settlement for you at the end of your suffering. You shall sing the song of perfection at the end of it all. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Israel Kristilere, Shepherdhill Baptist Church, (Sanctuary of Grace & Glory), Baptist Academy Compound, Obanikoro, Lagos.