Peter wrote an exhortation to the elders and other witnesses of the suffering of Christ. He exhorted them to take care of the saints that had been entrusted to their care. He also exhorted the young people to show respect to their elders. Peter spoke of the need for humility as God would exalt us in due season. We are encouraged to trade anxiety for prayer and intercession. Peter wanted the church to be sober, watchful and vigilant as the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. The advice is to resist him and stand firm in our faith. The main reason was that similar trials were being experienced by believers all around the world.
Peter then offered a comforting reassurance, that after suffering comes restoration, support, strength and establishment. It is true that as believer we will experience some challenges and testing. I do not believe that trials and suffering are for our entire lifetime. God is not so unjust to allow continual suffering. This is why Peter said ‘after we have suffered a little while.’ Life is made up of times and seasons and there are seasons of summer and spring. Similarly, we may experience seasons of hardship which will give way to restoration and peace.
If we examine the life of God’s people in the bible, the Jews experienced seasons of captivity and defeat. They also experienced seasons of rest from their enemies. In most instances, seasons of bondage and hardship was as a result of their disobedience. God promised in Deuteronomy 28, the blessings that would flow from obedience. He also outlined the consequences of disobedience and sin. Even then, God provided a caveat for his people in times of punishment for disobedience. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people” (2 Chronicles 7:13). God told Solomon that his people could cry out to him in prayer and he would answer and heal the land.
We don’t need to teach a gospel that promises a road paved with gold. Neither do we teach people, that a walk with Jesus leads to perpetual suffering. God’s promises are yes and amen, and there are many benefits attached to serving God. Many people have lived a life of sin, suffering and hardship. I believe that God offers comfort to those people. For those who have experienced turmoil, God offers peace. When we come to Jesus, the weak becomes strong, the poor becomes rich because of the eternal grace of God. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).