I have been a beggar for the grace of God. Empty, wounded, hungry, I’ve come before for him with hands and heart wide open to receive what He’s been dying to give me. Grace, abundant grace for an abundant life. It’s the greatest come-as-you-are-party. Come as you are, wounded, broken, fallen. And He gives grace, restoration, redemption, and healing, Then, He takes away our shame, guilt, sickness, and sin. Gone. As far as the east is from the west, whether you feel it or not.
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10
1 Peter 5:10 offers great promises to those who will take and eat. “…after you have suffered a while, [God will] perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Did you notice there is an after suffering? Suffering only lasts for a season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states there is a purpose in every season under heaven, even the season of suffering. With God, suffering is not wasted; it accomplishes four things. Suffering will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle us.
Perfect, in the Greek, perfect is katartizō . I love this word. It translates as to mend what has been broken, to put in order, to arrange, to repair, to render sound, to make one what he ought to be. In case you thought it was too late for you, God promises He can still make you become all you ought to be. Yes, He is that big and that good. Today, the day after whatever, the year after that soul-deep wound, the decade after that shattering mistake, today is a new beginning for you. God is recycling your hurt, pain, brokenness for your benefit. He’s using your current suffering to help you become what you ought to be. This process depends only on the faithfulness of God.
Next, God works to establish us.
Establish, in the Greek, strerizo means to make stable, to place firmly, to render constant one’s mind. Streizo greatly encourages me. In the past few years my life, mind, and emotions have felt anything but stable. But my soul is anchored to the God of peace. Little by little God has been teaching me to get my eyes off the world and its drama and firmly focus on Him. I can be stable and firm because He is a firm foundation that cannot be shaken. The process of being established can feel like a free fall because God teaches us to let go of unstable things. But God has us in the palm of His hand, perfected and established.
Then God strengthens us.
Strengthen, in the Greek, strengthen transliterates as sthenoō. It means to make strong. God’s specialty is calling things that are not as though they are. He makes the weak strong. Sthenoō descends from another Greek word that means to bid to stand, to stand immovable as the foundation of a building. In a season of suffering God is building something new in our lives. The process can be unsettling, but sometimes He has to tear something down to build something up.
Finally, God settles us.
Settle, in the Greek settle transliterates as themelioō. It means to make stable, to lay a foundation, to found. I have often seen on the corner stone of a building a plaque that says founded in 1875 or established in 1942. The builders are making an important statement about a benchmark event that establishes something new. I am certain if you look back you can also say seasons of suffering have brought landmark changes to your life as well. New foundations make new growth possible.
Perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle.
Let’s go back and review what I think is a healing process God walks us through. First, we suffer. Suffering comes from our own choices, the choices of others, or unforeseen circumstances. Then, God perfects us. Using the tool of suffering God mends, repairs, and makes us into what we were created to be. Next, God establishes us. He settles us in a deeper relationship with Him where we learn to hope, grow in our faith and expand our witness for Christ. Then God strengthens us. Because of what we endured, we are able to stand more firmly rooted in the trustworthiness of Christ. Finally, God settles us confidently in the next stage of our journey with Him. We leave the season of suffering with new tools, skills, and treasure to share with others.
Let me pray for you.
During this current season, so many of your people are suffering. We feel lost and confused by this current cultural moment. Father, so many are suffering because You are preparing us for a great season of harvest. Help us to trust you through the suffering. You call us to walk through the valley of trouble not tarry there or abide there. If we feel lost, Jesus is the way. Please give my brothers and sisters an extra measure of Your presence during this hard season. Bind the work of the enemy, send any harassing spirits where You say they must go by the power of the blood of Jesus. In His Holy Name, Amen.
by Mary Kane
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