Readings: 1st Peter 4:12-14 and 5:6-11
Verse 7: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
As we come to the close to our time in 1st Peter, the common themes continue: “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering” and “you are blessed for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” Yes, you/we will suffer for our faith. Have hope! Glory awaits one day and God is with you/us each day in the trials.
Turning to chapter 5 we find some practical steps to walk faithfully through our suffering as well as a promise that gives us this living hope that we have in Jesus Christ. First, Peter calls for humility. Only from this place do we acknowledge our own weaknesses and fragility. Only then do we believe that we truly need God’s power and strength in the trials. Next Peter writes, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” He is NOT saying God will take away all the trials and suffering. He IS saying that if we trust God to lead and guide and to be with us as we walk through the trials and suffering, then we can turn over our anxieties, fears, doubts, worries… to God. This is a big step.
Third, Peter tells us to be “self-controlled and alert.” This advice is given because Satan is always on the prowl, always looking for ways to drag us into sin and away from God. By being disciplined in our faith practices we are arming ourselves with power against these attacks. By being alert we are aware of our own areas of weakness and of those people and/or places that hold negative sway over us. This leads us to the 4th step: “Resist him.” Luke trials and suffering, temptation will come. Satan will attack. To this too we could say, “Do not be surprised…” Peter calls them/us to resist, to stand firm on our rock.
And the promise: “And the God of all grace… will restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” We do not walk alone. God in Spirit is with us always. In and through the trials and the suffering, God builds our faith. God sees us through and brings us out better able and more equipped for the next round. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Lord God, we close this walk through 1st Peter with such hope! In this life we will suffer, we will have trials, we will face temptations. Yet you are there with us, giving and being all that we need to walk faithfully through each one, emerging more faithful, more trusting, more assured of the living hope we have in you. Thank you for your great love and care for each of us. Amen.