In the midst of suffering, Peter tells us “Those who suffer according to God’s will should entrust themselves to our faithful creator” , tthat is, Peter say to treat God as God. God is infinitely wise and glorious beyond our understanding.
And then there are all the references to “glory” – Rejoice that you will be glad when His glory is revealed; and “the spirit of glory rests on you (14) and [we] will also will share in the glory to be revealed (5:1)
What is the glory of God? It’s a large concept, notoriously hard to pin down, but it’s something like the total package of God’s great attributes.
So I think the reason Peter keeps attaching the idea of glory onto his comments about suffering seems to be this: Let God be God and confess that we are not. He is not our partner. He is not our accomplice. He is not our need-meeter. He is not the God-of-my-plans. He is God alone. And we are His servants. He is the Potter and we are the clay. He does what He pleases and does NOT need to answer to us.
Peter wants us to remember God’s glory and be enabled, in the light of that glory, to see God as God. Like Isaiah, to have our lips touched with a burning coal in light of that vision of God’s awesome glory and just say, “Here I am”. Then we are freed fr. the desperate, doomed, exhausting effort to be in control of our own lives Suffering can wean us from our idols, and particularly, this idol of a god made in my own image.
How often have we heard someone reply, “Well, if your God is going to do something like that, than I don’t want to have any part of Him. ..” or “If that’s the kind of God He is, than I don’t understand …” or maybe: “God has no right to put her through such suffering and loss…” These are expressions of our desire to be in control, to bring God down to the bar of our understanding. And if He is beyond our understanding, then we whine instead of worship.
But by definition, if He is God, He does what He pleases and not only do I not get to question Him, but I will almost certainly be guaranteed to not be able to understand all His ways.
Job is remarkable here: after losing all his wealth, and all his sons and all his daughters in one afternoon, he falls to the ground and worships GOD, saying: “The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
So, to confess that God is God and you are not, that He is in control, and you are not, does not have to be terrifying.. The marvelous, mysterious Sovereignty of God can be wonderfully comforting. Remember Question #1 from the Heidelberg Catechism? It asks us:
Q. “Christian, what is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. “… that he protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit his purpose for my salvation
Like Job, we kneel and pray, we don’t complain and interrogate.