If there is anything that we have needed this last year or so, it is hope.
Hope that things will get better. Hope that we will get back to doing some of the things we enjoyed before with those we loved being around. Hope that we will be able to catch up on hugs and kisses with those we love. Hope that God is using all of this for His glory.
But this is not just a future hope. We are promised a living hope right now because of what Jesus has done for us. We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to enjoy God’s many blessings. Salvation is a process that won’t be finished until we are glorified.
Until then, we are going to go through troubling times. We are going to have to suffer. We are going to grieve. It is going to hurt. There will be pain. But the good news is that our Father loves us, and our hurt won’t be wasted. The good news is this life is temporal and eternity is on the horizon.
That’s the message of I Peter, the book we will be looking at during a new sermon series that begins Sunday.
Peter writes his letter as one who knows what it’s like to go through trouble and yet receive grace on the other end. Peter is positioned well to encourage weary believers to not give up no matter how much they’ve blown it or even disappointed themselves in their relationship with the Lord. He speaks from personal experience.
The question then and now is how as Christians do we live faithfully for God in the midst of a culture that has turned its back on Him? Because we are Christians we are often misunderstood and the day may be coming or is already here in some places when we will be treated cruelly based on our “intolerant” beliefs.
Peter’s purpose is to help those who are being mistreated or persecuted for their faith to see their temporary sufferings in the full light of the coming eternal glory. There are times where we will be discouraged but we need to remember that God is sovereign, He has us, we are His and even in the midst of troubled times we can experience joy because His presence is with us.
Life as followers of Jesus could become more difficult and require more humility and grace. As we look to the life of Jesus and what He experienced, are we surprised as His followers when we might experience and endure suffering as well? May God use future trouble to grow the church into maturity, be a witness to a watching world and through our patient suffering and loving concern for others show the world that indeed we have a living hope that cannot be extinguished.