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
You can find the word “restore” 136 times throughout the books of the Bible. Here, Peter writes to Christians and encourages them to remember that God is not finished with them and that, after they have suffered a little while, God will restore them and make them strong and steadfast. As his letter is circulated throughout first-century churches, Peter reminds believers that the suffering they face as Christians living in a pagan society will last only for a while but their eternal glory in Christ will be forever. There is a time coming when all who believe will have no more suffering, sorrow or tears (Rev. 21:4).
Today as followers of Jesus, we can identify with many of the things that the readers of Peter’s letter faced in their culture. However, when times are hard and you are feeling like there is no end to the pressures, priorities or problems, practice these three things.
Take deep breaths several times a day. Sit back in your chair and just breathe. There are times in the day when I recognize that I haven’t taken a deep breath for several hours. When we breathe deeply, we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. That full “oxygen exchange” helps send a message to the brain to relax, to calm down. The benefits of doing this several times a day are endless.
At the end of the day, reflect! Think back on your day and ask yourself, “What did I accomplish for the Lord today? Whom did I serve today? How did I reflect Jesus in my behavior toward others today?” Every day provides ways for us to find healing from our past, to learn the purpose of the present and to live with hope for our future. Take time to ask yourself these questions: “Are there aspects of my life that may need healing?” “What is the purpose of my current job or role in ministry?” “How would I define my hope for the future?”
Every morning, I give God my day in prayer. I offer my pain to him and seek to know how to live out his purpose for the day. I try to leave all the pressures in his hands and remember that he is still in control. For me, it is important to return to a state of mind in which I immerse myself in the truth of God’s Word by making time every day to meet with him, to read a passage of Scripture, to offer my voice in prayer.
What do you believe about God today? What are some ways you know that he sees you, he loves you and he is restoring you day by day to a life strengthened in him for all eternity?
In this new year, don’t allow the suffering to keep you from seeing all the opportunities for God’s blessings.
You are not alone!