By Ben Fiddian,
The previous blog quoted 1 Peter 5:6. The sentence continues into the next verse:
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 (1 Peter 5:6-7).
What is going on here? Let me try and explain. God is fundamentally opposed to the proud (v5). He will not, ultimately, tolerate anyone or anything that tries to usurp His glory. But this does not mean that He impatiently writes people off. Quite the opposite. Verse 6 tells us that His “mighty hand” is pushing down. He exerts His almighty power to press proud people, to lower them, into their proper position. That is, He actively puts people into the place where He can bless them.
It is often through suffering that we experience the mighty hand of God most acutely. Suffering teaches us things we cannot learn in any other way. It shows us that we are frail not invincible. That we are vulnerable not impenetrable. That we are not the masters of our own destinies. We are not in control. Suffering teaches us that we are not immortal. We learn the limitations of political solutions. We learn that science cannot provide instant answers to every problem. We see that, at best, medicine can prolong lives and ease pain but it cannot prevent death. We learn that many things which seemed so vital – our ‘idols’ – are not important at all. It teaches us that many of the things we have been neglecting and taking for granted are actually vital.
In our current circumstances, a small string of nucleotides wrapped in a microscopic piece of protein – a virus (which is not even technically alive) – has brought the world to a stand still.
What does God teach us through suffering? He teaches us that in spite of all our delusions of grandeur we are not independent, self-sustaining entities. We are creatures. He is our Creator. He is our Sustainer. All of the good things we take for granted are gifts from Him which He is under no obligation to give. Our strength and health – and life itself – are in His hand to give and withhold. Suffering teaches us that we are utterly dependent on God.
What are we to do? Humble ourselves. Wait patiently for Him to lift us out of it. Accept our vulnerability. Yield up the spirit of self-preservation. And live out our new-realised dependence.
“…casting all your anxieties on him…”
Is it safe to do this? Can we trust Him? Yes.
“…because He cares for you…”
And this is the place where His richest blessings are poured out:
“For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”.
Ben is part of the lecturing team at the Faith Mission Bible College
Follow his blog at https://fidzbit.blogspot.com/