…yet God has been faithful to gently and lovingly correct me! His glory, not my own.
“Keep me from the error of thinking thou dost
when some strange light fills my heart,
as if that were the glorious activity of grace,
but let me see that the truest revelation of thyself
is when thou dost eclipse all my personal glory
and all the honour, pleasure and good
of this world.”
-The Valley of Vision, “Love to Jesus”
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Rom. 11:36
Reasons Peter Gives to Support that Impossible Demand to Rejoice in Suffering
-Suffering is necessary (v.18). Anyone who is a son, is disciplined by their Father. Discipline isn’t great, but even earthly Fathers need to do it. As Christians, we don’t have the question “why” about suffering, and that lessens our worry.
-It’s not suffering in isolation, it’s corporate suffering (v. 17). There is a measure of comfort and solidarity and consolation that comes in having other people around and in acknowledging the suffering of others.
-Suffering is accompanied with the blessing of the Spirit (v. 14). God gives you the strength to face the suffering AT THE TIME when you need it and not before. There is an implicit promise that this suffering is not the end, and even in the midst of suffering, we get a taste and fragrance of the paradise of God that is coming.
-Suffering is eschatological (v.7). You are encouraged by seeing the end in sight. THAT’S the character of how you are called to live as a Christian. To know that the end is coming.
-The glorious character of suffering’s outcome (v.13). The suffering of this life comes to an end. There’s an OVERJOY of the time of Christ’s coming. The rejoicing in suffering now is the first installment, and we have the anticipation of the final installment: a greatness of joy unmingled with pain and death.
How To Get Our Hearts To Appreciate Those Reasons
1. Trust God and His power and goodness (v.19). Those very basic things in which the lily of the field have ought to taught us, rather than a magic formula of “3 steps to holiness.” It’s that very basic call to trust the One whom we have no reason not to trust.
2. Participation in Christ’s sufferings (v.13). We’ll be learning to understand this better our whole lives. The pain of suffering, the struggle to believe in God in the horror of it all, gives us a little taste of the outer limits of that immense suffering that Christ was willing to endure for us.
“If God was wise and powerful enough to bring about, through the hands of wicked men, the salvation of the world through the crucifixion, the ugliest crime of human history…if God is wise like that, trust him with your own life. Trust him with your own suffering. And commit your soul to him by doing good.” – Dr. Vern Poythress
Thy main plan, and the end of thy will
is to make Christ glorious and beloved
where he is now ascended,
where one day all the elect will behold his glory
and love and glorify him for ever.
Though here I love him but little,
may this be my portion at last.
In this world thou hast given me a beginning,
one day it will be perfected in the realm above.
Thou hast helped me to see and know Christ,
to take him, receive him,
to possess him, love him,
to bless him in my heart, mouth, life.
Let me study and stand for discipline,
and all the ways of worship,
out of love for Christ;
and to show my thankfulness;
to seek and know his will from love,
to hold it in love,
and daily to care for and keep this state of heart.
Thou hast led me to place all my nature
in oneness with Christ,
in having heart and mind centred only on him,
in being like him in communicating good
This is my heaven on earth,
But I need the force, energy, impulses of thy Spirit
to carry me on the way to my Jerusalem.
Here, it is my duty
to be as Christ in this world,
to do what he would do,
to live as he would live,
to walk in love and meekness;
then would he be known,
then would I have peace in death.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”