1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
10 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.
I find myself, along with my husband, thankful for the sufferings that come and go with seasons we pass through. There is a VERY specific time in our walk with Christ that 1 Peter 5:10 illuminated the raw truth of suffering. This appreciation only came from experiencing the aftermath of suffering. Unexpectedly, we found there is a sweet harvest to be reaped after the torrential downpour of the harsh storms. Here after those record-breaking storms is the place you find and appreciate the spiritual fruit that other seasons don't produce. Suffering never feels good nor do we go looking for it intentionally but let us take a minute to appreciate the restoration, strength, firmness and steadfastness that this suffering produces.
My husband and I went through a storm that was more than an internal personal suffering. This storm had no boundaries and many around us could visibly witness the devastation that occurred from the havoc this storm created. It invaded our ministry, seeped through into our family and spread out into our dear friendships. It was a massive and invasive storm that had me wondering at times if it would break us before it exhausted itself. Our suffering didn't seem to come from the beating of the storm but more less from the silence we received in our prayer life. For more than a year and a half, very blunt and clear God let us know all we were to do was to be silent, allowing him to sort out the mess man made and be still. The silence was like torture. There were countless consecutive days, let alone months, I found myself crying out to God to make it stop, that I didn't think I could bare but one more moment. Towards the end of the storm one of the spiritual armor bearers God gave us approached us. She shared with us something very special that we will always hold dear, especially when storms come our way. Simply recapped, she shared with us the meaning of the very harsh and dark storm we were enduring. The torrential downpour of rain I mentioned earlier had a purpose. The very rain that we prayed for God to stop was the same rain that was watering our harvest. The truth was we needed that harvest for the next season in our ministry and so we needed the rain. She shared that the spiritual fruit that we were going to harvest after the storm would be unfathomable and as never before. What I found unfathomable was that this storm had a purpose and a plan. I always thought storms were reckless, vicious and without direction, that they just whipped here and there with no regards to devastation. But the truth is your storm has a purpose and a plan, a precise plan. I experienced a new-found joy for that storm that day. I got myself back up, looked up and cried out for more of the rain I once cried would end. I will never look at suffering the same again. 1 Peter 5:10 brought life to the word restore. The beautiful part of the suffering is the restoration. We watched God restore everything we feared the storm damaged. In our eyes the storm left casualty after casualty but in reality it left strength, firmness and steadfastness. It left spiritual fruit that was breathtaking in beauty and purpose. It breathed life into death and suffering. Suffering has been beautiful to me since that record storm. It helped to mature and complete us so we would be lacking nothing for the next season in our life and ministry. (James 1:2-4)
These very storms we run from are magnificent in their own way. Lord let us not run, help us to stand in the storms that confront us. Let the storm rain down healing restorative water!