People all over the world are undergoing suffering. People all over the world are worried. People don’t know what’s going to happen next in this quickly changing landscape in which COVID-19 is dictating the terms.
The Apostle Peter writes to people just like that in 1 Peter 5. They are early followers of Jesus, men and women seeking to get through some tough times with their faith intact.
- Peter tells them that they need to humble themselves before God (1 Pet. 5:6) as they’re trying to be pulled through a fiery test (1 Pet. 4:12).
- He tells them to cast all their cares on God, because he really does care for us (1 Pet. 5:7).
- He warns them to be on the alert and stay sober because of the enemy we have who is prowling around like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8).
Then, he tells them (and us) to stand firm, and provides some insight on how to do so: “resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:9).
Did you catch what Peter is trying to say? He is not saying “misery loves company” or anything like that.
What he is saying is that one way we can stay strong is by remembering that there are others like us who are also trying to stay strong.
Others are going through what you are enduring. They’re trying to follow Jesus through it all; we should try to follow Jesus through it all.
I came across this verse for the first time while I was reading my Bible one day back in high school. I was so captivated by it, I wrote it down and shared it with some friends of mine in the youth group. I still have a piece of paper where I wrote this down and photocopied it to give to my friends. It encouraged us to stand firm, knowing we were not the only teenagers who were trying to cast our cares on God and follow Jesus.
Even today, all these years later, I need to remember I’ve got brothers and sisters throughout the world who are undergoing similar hardships. There is solidarity that comes when we are concerned about our brothers and sisters throughout the world, and pray for them, feeling compassion for them.
We have a family of believers throughout the world and it is full of people who are concerned for us as well. We are in this together. It gives us a little bit more strength for today, a little bit more hope and help to hold on.
Peter closes with a great prayer of blessing that is as beautiful as it is powerful: “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. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen,” (NIV).