After You Have Suffered

After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

- 1 Peter 5:10–11

In today’s passage, Peter closes the main section of his first epistle. In this closing we will see that he repeats several themes that appeared earlier in his letter in order to remind his readers of the power of God and the temporary nature of their trials.

Having established that believers all over the world face suffering (5:9), we read today that this suffering is only for “a little while” (v. 10). This expression is somewhat vague. It could mean that the sufferings we experience as Christians will end soon. But it could also mean the opposite — that the sufferings will last for many years or even that they will not end in our lifetimes.

How then can suffering be only for a little while? Again, we have to take an eternal perspective. Compared to the glory that we will experience in eternity, anything that happens to us in this life, even if we bear hardship for all our days, is indeed only for a little while. Knowing this to be true, we are encouraged to bear our suffering.

This encouragement, that our suffering is only to be a little while, was also given to us at the beginning of the letter (1:6–7). And like those verses from chapter 1, today’s passage reminds us that strength will come from our suffering. After our suffering God will “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish” us (5:10). He will fully empower us to stand firm for Him in the midst of all things.

Though the word “after” might make us think that God is not working in our trials, that is not the sense of this verse. It is hard to translate the Greek participle here, but most commentators agree that the sense in this verse is that God begins to strengthen us even in the midst of our trouble. This is not surprising given Peter’s teaching elsewhere that God uses suffering to purify us (1:6–7; 4:12).

Finally, Peter closes today’s passage glorifying God for His sovereignty and promise to establish us (5:11). The surety of our calling in Christ Jesus that lies behind the promise to confirm us (v. 10) enables us to join Peter in this doxology. John Calvin writes, since “our calling is founded on Christ, and refers to the celestial kingdom of God and a blessed immortality, it follows that it is not transient nor fading.”

Coram Deo

In the light of eternity, all of our suffering takes on a new perspective. When we truly understand and trust that we will enjoy the glory of God forever, we will be all the more enabled to endure bravely and persevere through our suffering. Take some time today to meditate on the glory of God that we will enjoy for eternity face to face (1 Cor. 13:12). Ask the Lord to remind you always of the glory that He is refining you for through your suffering.

Passages for Further Study

Ps. 10:16–18
Isa. 41:8–10
1 Cor. 1:4–9
Jude 24–25

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