“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 NIV
I for one hate struggle. It just doesn’t feel good. Pain and suffering, trials, disappointments, none of it feels good, right? Right! The reality is, we’re all going to face tough times at one point or another. Some of us go through cycles of financial issues, while others endure long bouts of health issues. In the end, we always “bounce back”, right? What happens though, when the bounce back gets tougher?
I’ve committed the devotion passage to memory and each time I cite it, send it, post it, or tweet it, Peter’s perspective on suffering blows my mind! If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, “How can I think of a decade as a “little while”? “How can I see twenty years of pain as a ” little while”? How can I see thirty plus years of being let down, mistreated, or misunderstood as a “little while”. It’s difficult to have a positive perspective on when you’re constantly going through tough times.
The Story of Mephibosheth
It reminds me of a story of Mephibosheth. You can find his story in 2 Samuel 4:4, then it picks back up in 2 Samuel 9. Mephibosheth (It’s a tongue twister, I know) was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of King Saul. Both Jonathan and Saul were killed during a war. Already, young Mephibosheth’s story is heartbreaking. To make matters worse, as his nurse is fleeing with him, she drops him, and as a result, he becomes lame in both feet. In spite of everything he endures, he finds a wife and has a son. There is a happy ending to this story! David, who is now King, asks his servants if there anyone from the house of Saul that he could bless (2 Samuel 9:1). Mephibosheth is mentioned and summoned to the palace. David makes a decree that Mephibosheth and his family would remain in his kingdom and eat at his table for the rest of his life. The passage ends ironically by mentioning that Mephibosheth was still lame in both his feet (2 Samuel 9:13).
Now some may look at this passage and question how exactly is it supposed to help anyone have a positive perspective during tough times. It seems pretty bad for Mephibosheth; losing your father and grandfather in the same day. Being dropped by someone who was supposed to be caring for you. Living in a land that had little to no provision. His story, however, has some key things that we can identify as being positive. First, he was able to find a wife. That may not seem like much to some, but finding a mate while having a disability can be discouraging. Its definitely not impossible as Mephibosheth proves to us. He also has a son, which means his legacy will live on. The most exciting part of this story is how he’s remembered! Ziba, David’s servant, remembered Mephibosheth and mentioned him to his master and King, David (2 Samuel 9:2-6).
What can we take from all of this? How does it tie in with the devotion passage? Let’s think about it. From the age of five to his adult life, Mephibosheth was lame in both feet. In spite of everything he had endured, he was able to find a wife, have a son, and he was remembered by some sitting in a high place. Isn’t that reminiscent of the love of God? Yes, we’ve endured so much! We have the right to feel every emotion that comes with pain and disappointment, but just like Peter, we should be encouraged to call the length of our suffering “a little while”. God, just like David invites us to his home and gives a seat at his table when we accept His son Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Even though we remain “lame in both feet”, we have a seat at the table! Woo!
Our Perspective on Struggles Must Change
Our perspective of our suffering must change in order for us to really see how blessed we are. I encourage you today, to take some time and write down what you’re currently facing on a sheet of paper, journal, notebook, etc. Make two columns. On one side, write what you’re currently dealing with, and on another side, identify a scripture that will help you endure that trial.
Prayer this prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to have a different perspective on my pain. I’m encouraged in knowing that because I’ve accepted your son Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have a seat at your table as a member of your family. Help me Lord, as I endure tough times to give thanks and to see my trials as only a “little while”. Send other believers to keep me accountable when I sense my emotions rising. Thank for being the God of ALL grace. I love you and I bless your Name. Amen.