"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."
1 Peter 5:10
If you don't, take heart, because the God of all grace will make you so.
I have always loved how just prior to this part of 1 Peter he says "after you have suffered a little while."
Just a little while.
Though sometimes it feels endless, our current suffering truly is minimal compared
to the restoration He provides.
Are your eyes and ears open to the myriad of ways He's sending you signs of hope
and love and a better future?
The connections, coincidences, none of it is accidental.
This life is a gift, struggles and all.
Without them I may never have gotten to the end of myself.
Never learned what it feels like to call Him my Prince of Peace,
My Husband, My Friend, My Comforter, My Healer.
My All In All.
In my Community Bible Study we're studying 1 Peter.
It is so rich and so pertinent.
I have several friends walking rough roads right now.
I wanted to encourage them and you, if you're in a place where you need it.
I sometimes wonder if it's partially due to the fact that I have too much on my plate to spend the time stewing and stressing about things for very long the way I was once prone.
But more than that, I've truly learned to rest in the knowledge that I've seen Him work all things for good time and again.
Really, really difficult things that could have ruined me.
But they didn't.
And through the process of sitting in the complicated, the difficult, the ugly,
the devastating, the things I didn't understand how or why,
a strength grew in me that I didn't know I had.
Sometimes my childhood friend and I talk about how this adult thing,
it's really not easy. Those little girls with idyllic dreams, if they were told
what the future held, we wouldn't have believed it and certainly wouldn't have
said, "No problem, we can handle it."
But we can, we have and we are. Because, just as children play the game of trust, we're free- falling backwards into our Father's arms, knowing He will always catch us.
He RESTORES us and makes us new.
The closeness to Christ that has come from the hardest of life's lessons, I wouldn't trade that for anything.
I used to wonder when it was that I'd feel like a grown up. Getting married didn't do it. Working a real job where I wore a suit every day, didn't do it. Buying a house, even having a child, I still felt like a child myself playing in this grown up world.
And then I realized, it's walking through the hard things and learning to be OK with the unknown. It's keeping life normal for those looking to you for guidance.
It's putting one foot in front of the other, making hard choices, and setting other's needs before your own, when all you want to do is crumble.
These are the things that made me finally realize I'm truly grown up.
Gratefully, a grown up with Christ by my side.
Because I couldn't do it without Him.
It is this knowledge that makes me rise before the sun
to meet with him again and again.
To call Him friend, to seek His counsel, to feel His comfort.
And it is just this gratitude that stirs in me a desire to encourage those who are struggling,
by sharing His story of hope.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion
and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives,
so also through Christ our comfort overflows."
2 Corinthians 1:3-5