Encouragement from Associate Minister Cliff Ursel

Hey Westside, I trust that you are enjoying the coming signs of summer as much as I am! 

As you read this, Erin and I are navigating some transitions that require us to take some steps of faith and, if I’m honest, I find it exhausting. Maybe you can relate to the fatigue you get from doing the right things, the things that God has asked of you. The most logical prayer we pray in these times is for God to get us out of doing these hard things. 1 Peter is a letter that really speaks to me in this space, but not because it’s a gentle encouragement. In fact, it’s the opposite. 

This letter normalizes hardship and encourages the Christian to run headlong into the difficulty, to keep doing the hard things because there is purpose and good in them. My favourite part of the letter comes midway through chapter five, but before we look at it, let me give some context. Peter wrote this during a time when the Church was suffering hardship, and when you read the letter, you see that Christians are called to endure hardship (1:6ff), to get along with each other and live holy lives (2:1ff), submit to authority even when it’s untrustworthy (2:13ff), and keep a soft heart when you’re treated poorly (3:9), among other things. Chapter four is hard to do at the best of times, let alone when times are tough. It is clear that the fatigue that comes by doing the right thing is something the early Church knew a lot about. After all of this, we come to the passage I want to encourage you with:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
— 1 Peter 5:6-11

I read 1 Peter 5:6–11 as a loving and powerful heavenly Father talking to his sons and daughters who are experiencing the fatigue of doing the right thing and just want a break. As you and I meditate on this, we learn that the God who is in total control has tasked us, along with our brothers and sisters, to fight a spiritual war. Only when we see King Jesus face-to-face will our true relief and rest come. And when it comes… it will be better than you or I are even capable of imagining.

Categories: Devotions,Encouragement