We have come to the end of our series on 1 Peter. Throughout this letter, Peter has been encouraging his readers. The persecution and suffering they are going through isn't something strange and it isn't because they have done something wrong. Peter writes over and over again that God is with them, that they are privileged to follow in Jesus' footsteps and what they are going through can actually help point people to Christ. Many times when we are suffering we respond by doing everything we can to prevent it, doing everything we can to fix it, or doing everything we can to deny it. In our passage today, Peter gives better direction in how to respond to suffering.
One way to respond to suffering is with humility (v.5). Humility doesn't say "I'm a terrible person and I deserve this suffering," but humility says, "I am suffering and I need help from outside of myself." It is surrendering to what you are going through and relying on God's mighty hand.
The second way to respond to suffering is to cast all your anxiety on God (v.7). Anxiety is a common feeling because we value control. How do I prevent this, fix this, avoid dealing with this? When we suffer, it is an invitation to remember that there is a sovereign God who is in control and He cares for us! Our goal is not a comfortable life free from suffering, but our goal instead is to seek first the kingdom of God whatever that might entail.
The third way to respond to suffering to be aware of the fact that we have an enemy who is actively trying to destroy our faith (v.8). Peter admonishes his readers that they need to be alert, to resist and to stand firm in the faith because they are not going through this alone.
Lastly, Peter ends the letter with his greatest comfort: And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen (v.10).
Everything they have gone through has been under God's watchful eye. He is the one who chose them and called them into his eternal kingdom. And yes, they will suffer for a little while. But He Himself will restore, strengthen and establish them.
Will you hold to that sure and certain hope deep in your heart this week?