By God’s power [you] are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials 1 Peter 1:5-6
There are two things we need to acknowledge about suffering—namely, that it does exist and it does hurt. Affliction is a reality in everyone’s life at one time or another. Such affliction takes on many forms, not the least of which is mental suffering.
When writing to fellow believers about suffering, Peter recognized that there are many and various ways in which we can be grieved. The specific sorrow that Peter’s first readers were burdened by was the mental anguish that comes from enduring hardship—but Peter was fully aware that there are all kinds of trials that buffet our minds and crush our spirits.
Because of the gospel, Peter doesn’t have to end on a note of hopelessness and despair. Instead, he gives us promises to which we can cling.
First of all, Peter reminds us that our trials last only “a little while.” Now, “a little while” needs to be understood in the light of eternity; even a lifetime is “a little while” compared to forever! Thus, a long period of suffering in this life is still, in God’s economy and in the framework of His plan and purpose for His children, “a little while.” That is not to say that such suffering will feel brief—especially when we are in the midst of it. For many, suffering means that a minute can seem like a day, a day can seem like a year, and a year can seem as if it’s never going to end. But we can and must cling to this promise: our current misery is not our eternal end. Suffering may fill your life today, but one day, “in the last time,” salvation will.
Secondly, we are able to say with confidence that in every moment of suffering, God is present. In the account of Saul of Tarsus’s conversion we find Jesus intimately identifying with His people’s suffering: he says, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4, emphasis added). How could Jesus say “me” when He was in heaven? It was because, through the Spirit, Christ was present with His people. He stood in solidarity with them. His Spirit was with them, guarding them as they walked through valleys toward their day of final salvation. He does the same for us.
FOOTNOTE William E. Littlewood, “There Is No Love Like the Love of Jesus” (1857).
Devotional material is taken from Truth For Life Daily Devotional by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.