GOD WILL SUSTAIN US (1 Peter 5:8-10)

By Tommy Thornhill

Having lived in this world for over 85 years I have been blessed of God many times over, as have the rest of us. While we have been wonderfully blessed by God on many occasions, we have also, at times, been forced to deal with various trials and tribulations that are a part of life. Some of these troubles are more difficult to deal with than others, but regardless, whether great or small, they are things that happen to test our faith in God. In 1.Pet.1:6-7 we read, “Though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Even though the trials Peter wrote about were primarily persecution by the world, against Christians it would also include trials and trouble that come with sickness and disease such as the one we are now facing. I would classify the present crisis looming before as a severe test of faith. The COVID-19 virus, commonly known as the Coronavirus, looms as a deadly disease that at the present time is very difficult to control. Over a million people (4-3-20) the world over have been/are/or will be affected and tens of thousands dying before it is brought under control.

We have already seen how it is testing the faith of God’s people as they weigh options whether to assemble or not to assemble in order to keep people from being exposed to its deadly effect. Brethren are fervently reexamining their positions on this matter, and that is a good thing as long as they don’t cause it to bring division. All need to be careful of what they say and do during the crisis.

In the meantime, we need to show the world our faith in God as we deal with the situation. We must keep our faith in God, trust Him, for He is aware of the problem and will help us through it. I am fully convinced He sustain us, regardless. Peter had learned this through his years serving the LORD that this is so. He was thoroughly convinced the LORD will sustain His people if they suffer for Him and His cause. As he comes to the close of his first epistle, after indicating that the devil is behind the trials we suffer in life, writes, these are ”the same sufferings ae experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But, may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered for a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” 1 Peter 5:9-10.  

Earlier, he had encouraged the saints to commit their souls to God 4:19; and then exhorted them to “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you” 5:6-7. But, he also warns the saints not to get too comfortable for we will still have to face manifold trials and temptations in life. People of the world will continue to test our faith by mistreating us and heaping undeserved persecution on us simply because we are Christians, and we will be tested by sicknesses and disease also, like the one we are presently facing.  

While visibly it is the corrupted world that causes all the sicknesses, sorrows and difficulties that fall upon us, behind it all, unseen, is the devil. He is responsible for it all. He is the prince of demons, the arch enemy of God and the Messiah. This has been the case ever since the Garden of Eden. As such he hates anything and anyone who seeks to serve God and will continually bring trials and trouble to entice God’s people to sin and curse God so he can destroy their souls in hell. He prowls about seeking to devour (destroy) men. That is why Peter calls him our adversary (opponent, false accuser, slanderer, the enemy), and warns us to “watch and pray” 4:7-8; Matt.26:41. We are to be sober and vigilant because the devil is still actively seeking to deceive and hurt us, seduce us into sinning against God, so we will lose our souls. We can resist the devil and not allow his efforts to destroy our faith and trust in God. God has promised to sustain us in life if we lean on Him.

So, during this present crisis, listen to Peter 5:9. Be steadfast (firm, solid, compact, rigid, immovable).holding on to the faith (the body of truth, the gospel, Christ and His doctrine) and this crisis will pass.  These suffering in life, whether persecution for serving the Lord, or sickness and disease will only be for a little while v.10 (in duration and degree only temporary, transient). It is light affliction as compared to the eternal weight of glory.

During this “little while” God, by His amazing grace, will perfect (complete,and repair us in removing the defects of sin); establish (confirm, steady, strength, make firm) giving us ability to persevere during the trials, so we can run the race with endurance, no more wavering and instability in our faith; strengthen so our weakness will be made strong  with more confidence and trust in God; settle (to make stable, fixed. On a firm foundation. With these things from God we will be able to withstand the present storm of disease and anything that may come against us, and when it is over still be firmly anchored to the Rock, Jesus Christ.