Context. That's what I'm learning. How to read scriptures in context. After a lengthy discussion with Steve about this passage, God has helped me to understand it in context to the rest of 1 Peter 5. Peter was speaking to the saints who had been dispersed from Jerusalem and were being persecuted for their faith. The book of 1 Peter seems to me to be a reminder to expect suffering on earth but that they are living with the hope of eternity with Christ.
When I read a passage in the Bible like "after you have suffered a little while," I get excited and think "oh goody, suffering for a little while, clearly that can't mean longer than a year...." But life on earth is just a "little while" compared to heaven. We might not ever see the end of this trial until we see Jesus face to face. We can't hold tightly to anything except Christ. While we are here, we may be restored, confirmed, strengthened and established to a degree, but we will never fully be any of those until we are with the Lord.
But suffering our entire lives here is what most clearly reveals God to us and most intensely gives us the desire for heaven. That's right where God wants us to be. And suffering is where He has us now.