Dreading suffering

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].” -1 Peter 5:10

I recently listened to a message on contentment and as the speaker referenced this verse, I had a new understanding of it.

I’ve read this verse in the past and it caused dread. Pretty much my whole life. I saw it as future suffering… God is going to make me endure some pretty tough times. And I was and have been scared trying to anticipate what this suffering might be.

But, I realized that all the time I had been dreading this suffering… I was actually in the midst of it.

Even as a Christian, for many years, I have had the wrong voice and perspective about God. In my mind, God was an authoritarian. A disciplinarian. A strict Father. Yeah I’d tell other people He loves them and cares about them as a shepherd cares for his sheep, but when it comes to me I’ve never been able to shake this Military Commander like quality from my view of God.

However, over the past two years, God has slowly been peeling back the layers on this false view of who He is. Or maybe, I’ve finally been able to see and truly accept who He is.

Seeing God as a Military Commander watching your every move, waiting for you to make a mistake, breathing down your neck as you navigate life and then boom making you encounter suffering to toughen you up…

that is miserable.

My perspective of God wasn’t the only one that was off. I felt I was responsible for everyone and everything around me. I had no sense of healthy boundaries.

That is also a miserable way to live.

So, all the time I was fearing suffering… I was suffering. A lot of it was self-inflicted. A wrong perspective, an unhealthy way of viewing life.

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].” -1 Peter 5:10

But God didn’t leave me there. He didn’t abandon me to continue suffering. He has confirmed, strengthened and established me… He is in the process of making me what I ought to be.

And I’m so thankful.

“The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Yes, future suffering may come but I don’t have to fear it because I know it’s not coming from a vindictive Father… Suffering happens and God is with us in it. Standing beside us. Loving us through it.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” -Psalm 18:2

“O Lord, deepen my wounds into wisdom;

shape my weakness into compassion;

gentle my envy into enjoyment,

my fear into trust,

my guilt into honesty.

O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.” -Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace