November 28, 2008

Letter of Encouragement to Fellow Sufferers

I finished reading 1 Peter today according to my daily Bible reading plan. The letter of 1 Peter was written to strengthen and encourage suffering believers who were scattered all around the world, but specifically those in five named regions (1 Peter 1:1). Although I have not yet had my life threatened by anyone for being a Christian, and nobody has beaten me up or stolen all my property, I am still very comforted from reading this letter. All true Christians in every place do experience various trials and sufferings (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 2:21). Anyone who does not suffer in some manner as a Christian is simply not one. But it can be very distressing and heartbreaking when the various trials seem to overwhelm, and then, the letter of Peter is meant to provide this kind of strengthening encouragement to help us endure:

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you. Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 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. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV).

My fellow Christian friends, you who are elected by God and called to be partakers of His glory in Christ Jesus our Lord, you must not be afraid, or discouraged, or fainthearted, or anxious because "after you have suffered a little while [whether it be mental anxiety, spiritual trials from Satan, physical pain, or any other form of sufferings], the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." And, if you have heavy anxiety over the willful ignorance of people whom you love, who also reject you and reject the truth of Christ, then just know that your sufferings may be a part of God's plan to bring them to repentance, and if not, God will work it all out for your joy and His glory in the end (Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 1:6,7). Only stand firm, be strong, give yourselves to prayer and to reading the Bible, and may the God of all grace give you peace.

In Christ Jesus, I can say that I love you who are my true brethren in the faith. Grace be with you all.



Stephanie said...

This is encouraging. I was listening to a study on Ephesians lately and was reminded of:

"taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."

I'm learning this truth.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Amen, thanks Stephanie! I'm learning that truth as well.