1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
Peter is writing to Christian believers who are suffering for the faith, perhaps feeling the temptation to leave the church. Today v.10 got my attention, particularly the meaning of “all little while”. I’m pretty sure God’s understanding of “a little while” and ours is different. I’m tempted to think the suggestion here is that suffering will only last a few hours or days, but that’s not what we know from history. History tells us that many Christians have suffered for long periods of time over the last 2,000 years – and many suffering to the point of death.
But then I think about God’s perspective, which is eternal. From the perspective of eternity our life on earth is a tick of the clock, a moment, an instant, “a little while”. Tomorrow I’ll be going to Austin to visit an old family friend who is slowly dying of Alzheimer’s disease. His health has been deteriorating for years, particularly the last two years or so. I hope he’ll recognize me when I see him. We’ll talk for a bit and I’ll pray for him before I leave. It’s hard to watch a process of death unfold so slowly.
And yet I know the day will come when Jim will die and his suffering will come to an end. Furthermore, the day will come when my life will end. And, as sons of God through Jesus Christ, we together with all the saints will have an eternity free of disease or death. Lord help us to hang in there… “a little while”. Amen.