“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.1 Peter 5:10
Such a little while…. a very little while, The late Dr. Gordon loved to read it, Yet a little while, how little, how little! which is the literal rendering of the Greek. A little while! compared with the eternal years; with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; with the compensations which await us in the Home of God. Though our life were one long agony, it would seem but as yesterday when it is past; a dream, or a sleepless watch in the night, when the morning breaks.
There is a limitation to our suffering. It is only for a little while; but every moment has been fixed by the immutable purpose and love of God. The hour of darkness is timed with an exact measurement. You shall not suffer one moment more than is absolutely necessary for your perfecting of God’s glory; and for every moment there is an ample supply of grace.
But remember also that in Christ God has called you to his Eternal Glory. You heard that call years ago, and have been following it through days of evil and nights of pain. But the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, and He is waiting to fulfill his eternal purpose. What a banquet that will be when God will satisfy the expectations of those whom He has called to partake of it! And the suffering is being used in ways you little understand to perfect, stablish, and strengthen you. It is from sick chambers and torture-rooms that God brings forth his veteran hosts in the day of battle. Think not so much of affliction as of the love of Christ, and the blessedness of being like Him and with Him for ever.
Some time ago an article appeared in the Reader’s Digest telling about a most unusual tree called the “Bristlecone Pine.” Growing in the western mountain regions, sometimes as high as two or more miles above sea level, these evergreens may live for thousands of years. The older specimens often
have only one thin layer of bark on their trunks. Considering the habitat of these trees, such as rocky areas where the soil is poor and precipitation is slight, it seems almost incredible that they should live so long or even survive at all.
The environmental “adversities,” however, actually contribute to their longevity. Cells that are produced as a result of these perverse conditions are densely arranged, and many resin canals are formed within the plant. Wood that is so structured continues to live for an extremely long period of time. The author Darwin Lambert says in his article, “Bristlecone Pines in richer conditions grow faster, but die earlier and soon decay.” The harshness of their surroundings, then, is a vital factor in making them strong and sturdy. How similar this is to the experience of the Christian who graciously accepts the hardships God allows to come into his life.– F B Meyer