Let’s face it. Life is hard, and it seems to be getting harder all the time. Whether you’re a work-from-home parent faced with homeschooling kids weary of virtual learning or you’re grieving the loss of a loved one or facing a medical battle of your own or just burdened by the events unfolding in the world, I invite you today to consider our God and take from Him His grace, comfort, peace, and hope.
The God of All Grace (1 Peter 5:10)
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen [and] establish you. (1Pe 5:10 NASB)
Peter begins the conclusion of his first epistle with this wonderful promise of God’s future plans for suffering servants. These plans, he says, were formed by the God of all grace. This concept, despite its familiarity, can sometimes become a bit muddled in our minds. The word itself means favor or good-will, a gift or benefit. A common “churchy” definition is “God’s unmerited favor.” Taking these explanations into account then, Peter could have rightly called God the “God of all goodwill and every good, undeserved gift.” That rendering echoes James’s words: “Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of Lights” (1:17).
Consider for a moment that every single good gift is from God. Not one of them happened by chance. Not one of them befell you by fate. Not one of them do you deserve. There is no grace outside of God. For God to remove His grace from the world would be for every last one of us to be immediately thrust into hell. Yes, our world bears the scars of sin and groans under its curse. Yes, we look forward eagerly to the day when the King will return and put an end to the curse. And yet, while we wait, the God of all grace continues to shower us with good gifts, even in the midst of our deepest sorrows.
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Reader, I don’t know what valley you may be navigating or on what mountain top you may be resting. But I do know that God has a monopoly on grace, and we have all been richly lavished with it.
The God of All Comfort (2 Cor. 1:3)
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2Cor 1:3-4 NASB)
In just the past week, two women in my online Bible study (of five) lost sisters to cancer, a dear friend’s brother took his own life, another friend said goodbye to his beloved 97-year-old mother, and a former coworker and longtime friend was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer. Our hearts are hurting. We need comfort.
In his opening greeting of a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul recognizes the sovereign God as the “God of all comfort.” Once again, note the use of a 100% word: all. None of our friends could keep the promise given to us in this verse: this God, the God of all comfort, will comfort you in all your affliction. Not one iota of affliction will pass by unnoticed and uncared for by the Father of mercies. The sovereign King who keeps all your tears in a bottle (Psa. 56:8), stoops down every time to comfort you.
We’re quick to spurn this comfort, though, aren’t we? We think we’ll find it in food or books or movies or exercise or drugs. It’s so easy to think of God as the author of our suffering and forget—or reject—that He is the comforter in the midst of it. Yes, we must uphold both truths: in His providence He allowed our circumstances; yet in His grace, He offers comfort.
Friend, are you suffering today? Are the winds of affliction about to blow you off course? Remember your Father, the God of all comfort. He has promised to comfort you in every affliction every time.
The God of Peace (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20)
Millions (if not billions) of dollars are spent each year in search of peace. Whether from medication, meditation, a journey, pilgrimage, diet, or experience, humans are on a quest for peace. We want world peace, peace within our nation’s borders, and, most of all, peace within our own hearts. However, for all the money it makes selling pathways to peace, the world has no peace to offer. God alone proffers that commodity.
Not once, but five times in the New Testament, God is called the God of peace. Most of these references come in or near an epistle’s final benediction. It’s as if the biblical authors want their readers to remember one last thing about our God: that He is a God of peace. That is not to say that He is not also a God of wrath, a God of justice, and a jealous God who burns with hatred toward sin. He is all of those things and more. But held in unity with those other facets of His character is His peace.
Because He is a God of peace, He gave His only Son to reconcile hostile, alienated sinners to Himself (Col. 1:20-23).
Because He is a God of peace, He calms the storms of our hearts with a peace that surpasses anything we can understand (Phil. 4:6-7).
Because He is a God of peace, He does not author confusion and chaos (1 Cor. 14:33).
Because He is a God of peace, He cultivates and harvests peace within the hearts of His children (Gal. 5:22; James 3:17-18).
Because He is a God of peace, He will destroy our great enemy, the devil (Rom. 16:20).
Because He is a God of peace, He will never desert us (Phil. 4:9).
The God of Hope (Rom. 15:13)
Just as the world craves peace and comfort, it also longs for hope. This yearning has taken center-stage in the past twelve months. Who among us hasn’t scanned the news just to see if maybe today we’ll find a sliver of good news? My friend, if you have stopped believing that the end of the tunnel will ever come, turn to the God of hope.
The hope that God provides is not the same hope that fills a child on Christmas morning when he’s desperately wishing for a Red Rider bb gun. No, the hope our God offers is more akin to the hope that we have that the sun will rise tomorrow; or, as we Minnesotans think in the middle of January, the hope that spring will come and the snow will melt.
The hope that God offers is an anchor for the soul: sure and steadfast (Heb. 6:19). The hope that God offers is a person, His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. As surely as He offered Himself upon the cross, bearing the fullness of God’s wrath and rising again three days later to defeat death and hell for all eternity, He will just as surely return and, finally, set all things right once again.
My friend, I don’t know what circumstances you’re plodding through right now. However, I would guess that they’re hard, or at least harder than you’d like. Finally today, consider these words from Peter, writing to a group of suffering believers:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober [in spirit,] fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1Pe 1:13 NASB)
May the God of hope, peace, comfort, and grace hold your weary hearts in His hand today.