1 Peter 5:10
“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.”
Before the season, there are preseason workouts which get the player ready to play the game. Before a cadet is called a soldier, they must go through boot camp to be prepared for the hardships of war. In both cases, they must go through hard times so that they can become the player or soldier they need to be so that they can face their respective opponent.
Likewise, in the Christian walk, you will never become who you are supposed to be without suffering. No believer has been used greatly by God without first having to go through hard times. It is the hard times that prepares the believer to face the hardships of spiritual warfare. To think that God can use you without hardship is simply absurd. The greatest work of Christ was not the miracles He performed, but His greatest work was paying for mankind’s sin on the cross. If Jesus had to go through suffering to see His greatest work accomplished, so you must go through suffering to see God do His greatest work through you. The verse above shows several purposes as to why you must suffer.
First, you must suffer so that you can be made “perfect.” The word “perfect” simply means to be mature. No person will mature as a believer without hard times. It is the hard times that matures the believer. The believer who has never endured suffering is a childish believer. Suffering has a way of making the believer grow up spiritually. You will find yourself looking at your faith through mature eyes after you have endured suffering.
Second, you must suffer so that you can be stablished. In other words, suffering has a way of revealing to you what you believe. Every believer who endures suffering will come out the on the other side of suffering knowing more about God than they did before they suffered. One of the greatest benefits of suffering is how suffering gives you an understanding of God’s Word. You will find your faith established because suffering has a way of driving you to God’s Word for understanding.
Third, you must suffer to be strengthened. You can’t get strong through a walk of ease. The weightlifter becomes stronger by making himself weak through lifting weights. Likewise, the believer becomes stronger by being made weaker through suffering. Suffering makes you weak so you can become strong through the strength of the LORD’s help. You will never become a strong believer without enduring suffering.
Fourth, you must suffer to be settled. Suffering has a way of settling in your mind that there is no other way you want to live. Suffering will either drive the believer away from the Christian walk or it will settle the Christian walk in the heart of the believer. You will find yourself become more resolute that the Christian walk is the right walk after you endure hardships.
The key to these four purposes of suffering is found in the phrase, “…after that ye have suffered a while…” If you are quick to give up in the time of suffering, you will never experience suffering’s purpose; instead, you will become bitter and quit on God if you don’t endure suffering for “a while.” My friend, when hardships and suffering comes, don’t be quick to quit. God is trying to make you stronger so that He can use you in a greater way.