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Originally written for Proverbs31 Encouragement for Today Devotions
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead … for you, who through faith are shielded by God’’ power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 (NIV)
When I saw the church’s phone number pop up on my screen, my heart immediately skipped a beat.
Our church was experiencing an intense season of grief, unable to recover from seemingly endless waves of loss. These were our friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, men and women who served with joyful hearts, walked by faith and shared the gospel without hesitation. One day they were singing in the choir, preparing meals for others, attending church, and the next day they were gone to be with the Lord.
Now one of my spiritual mentors, a woman I deeply adored and admired, had passed away. She had been sick for a while, yet her death still took me by surprise.
My head knew that my friend was completely healed and in the presence of our Savior. But my heart was heavy. After so much loss in such a short period of time, I found myself losing hope.
The recipients of the letters now known as 1 and 2 Peter, understood what it felt like to lose hope during extremely difficult circumstances. They were new Christians experiencing significant suffering and persecution, living in exile throughout Asia Minor. Peter wrote to encourage them and to remind them of what they previously had learned about Christ. His letters instructed them in how to live as outcasts in an increasingly hostile environment without losing hope in the living One in whom they professed to believe.
As stated in our key verse, Peter wasted no time addressing where the hope of these “elect exiles” lay: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead … for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Followers of Christ need not fear anything or anyone in this world, not even death. Through the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been born again into an eternal, living hope. Because of His deep compassion and understanding of our darkest moments and greatest fears, Jesus lives to intercede for us every moment of every day.
In subsequent verses (1 Peter 6-9), Peter explained that, because of the sinful, fallen world where we now dwell, no one escapes physical death; however, faith in the living Savior forever tethers us to the promises, protection and unmatched power of the living God, who will never let go of us. Jesus saved us, is saving us and will save us for all eternity!
We’ve all found ourselves in situations that make it difficult to find a reason to rejoice. Thankfully we know when circumstances change and challenge us, God remains the same, and nothing is too difficult for Him. Now, that is something to rejoice about!
There will be times in our lives when we suffer, both emotionally and physically. Yet, despite our suffering, God’s Word tells us to rejoice and be confident that the grace by which God saved us will ultimately usher us into His presence for all eternity.
So let us rejoice today in God’s goodness and count our many blessings, safe and secure in the living hope found in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior!