The sound of a circling airplane brings euphoria to those lost at sea. The expectation of coming rescue brings new hope and the energy to struggle on. When we struggle with strong temptation or other kinds of suffering, life can seem like being lost at sea. The disciple named Peter knew all about that. He wrote words of powerful encouragement for those who suffer and struggle as they attempt to live out their faith. He knew how tough such a struggle seems and how often and easily we fail. In 1 Peter 5:6-10 he gives important strategies to employ during the struggle (click HERE to review those). And he ends that section by saying this: Help is on the way. He wrote:
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)
The most important word is easily overlooked. It is “Himself!” God is going to do what is needed – Himself. How cruel it would be for the circling plane to drop a message to the folks floundering below that said, “You can do it! Try harder!” And yet, so many of us have heard that, “try harder” message from our religious leaders. But Peter knew this truth: What I cannot do, God will do. Himself.
He will restore us to good operating condition. Think of the restorations you’ve seen on TV or YouTube. A piece of rusty junk is transformed into a beautiful roadster, gleaming as it did right off the showroom floor. God Himself will restore us.
You’ll no doubt think, “No way, this can’t be true…” That’s why God Himself will confirm His work in you. He will let you test it and see for yourself that it is real, even as the restoration is being gradually accomplished.
Not only that, but He will strengthen those areas of weakness in you that have caused so much trouble, equipping you to face the continued temptations and dangers of real life.
Ultimately, God will establish you. When footers are poured under new foundations, their function is to establish the stability of the building. Their job is to keep the building steady in the midst of all the forces that try to move it.
Help is coming. But why has it been delayed? Peter wrote, “after you have suffered awhile…” In verse 6, he wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,…” God knows what we are enduring and when is the proper time to end it. Like a coach or trainer, He allows us to suffer temporarily as part of how He works to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. Remember: “He cares for you” (v. 7), and hold on to His promise of rescue.
A circling plane cannot rescue shipwrecked sailors. It functions as a promise that help is coming. That promise, that hope, makes all the difference. 1 Peter 5:10 serves us like that as well.