Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 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. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:6-11
Peter’s call to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand is coupled with the promise that God will exalt us at the proper time. In fact it is only from an attitude of humility before God that we are able to be exalted by God. Sometimes God does an alien work of bringing us low so that we can look up to him, and seek his mercy.
But what if we are humble before God and yet suffer difficulty and hardship? A woman wrote to me expressing that feeling of confusion and discouragement as she imagined that he suffering was because of God’s displeasure, or something she had done wrong:
I asked myself over and over, day after day, month after month and then year after year what I had done for such pains to befall me. I still have no answer to that. … in one realm I felt called to defend biblical principals of forgiveness and reconciliation and in the other realm called to give to a foreigner (soon to be my own family) as I would give to my own. In both, my heart was wide open and so very unprepared for the outcome of exactly the opposite response.
We must not ignore another source of difficulty and suffering in our lives. Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He is the enemy of our souls, the father of the lie, and the deceiver of women and men. He insights people to visit pain and suffering upon others. He even tempts God’s very own people to turn aside from doing good and staying true to his grace and truth.
Satan is a ravenous source of trouble, suffering, pain, and despair in our world. He is our enemy, committed to our doom. The God of all grace, has called us to his eternal glory in Christ. He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us. That is why we renounce the Devil and all his works and all his ways, and rejoice to acknowledge that God God belongs dominion forever and ever. Amen.