“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
In order to study the Word and apply it correctly, all interpretation must be God-centered. A discussion of the works of God must begin with God Himself.
He is to be blessed for it is His mercy alone which saves us, not any works we can do. He alone is the Author of hope. He alone raises from the dead. He alone keeps our inheritance safe and secure until the last day. He alone keeps His saved ones saved. He alone is the Author of faith.
During our mid-week Bible study, my pastor used a prism as an illustration of the character of God. Light enters the prism continuously and displays those colors continuously. The colors do not change into each other, but we see them individually. So it is with God. He is eternal, impassable, all perfection. We see His perfections as we see the prism’s colors, individually. He does not change from one to another, He is all of them all the time.
As we saw in the beginning of the chapter, all believers were fore-loved from before the foundation of the world. They (and you and I) have never been outside of His love, for He would have to change His position before us from enemy to friend…and He doesn’t change. It is we who first view Him as the enemy, in our unsaved state, and experience being changed to see a different ‘color’ and know Him as Friend, Redeemer and so on.
How my love toward Him pales in comparison of His to me…all of life must needs be lived in thankfulness and unwavering trust for all He is to me. I have much to learn, but it is much easier to trust implicitly now than it was years ago and He gets all the glory! It’s a visible picture of verse 8. Is it not delightful to read the Word and see it as actually your life, thought process, anchor? And yes! We can rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, for we can see the outcome of the faith He has worked into the salvation of our souls.
When the next step of faith is a trial, a dark shadow or valley, let us not faint in the middle of the sea. Jesus told the disciples to take Him to the other side, but at the onset of the storm, it seemed like He had changed His mind without a word and death was imminent and there was no power to change it…even though He was in the boat all the time. How quickly we are to forget that Jesus is with us in the valley of the shadow; that in darkest nights and deepest seas He is always there. We must needs go through the storm to arrive at the other side as He said, for in the storm we have no strength, only awe for His magnificent power.
Some of the most encouraging writings I have read are from people who have written about their trials and hardships.
“Your Maker draws nigh in those dark nights, and gives a song of hope which is harmonious with the deep music of His providence.” (Streams in the Desert)
“If God would manifest the fact that ‘He giveth songs in the night’, He must first make it night.” William Taylor
Not all seas will be stormy, some voyages may be all doldrums. I rather think the disciples assumed it would be an easy trip and they had much experience with seas and boats, and so do we when faced with a growing period that looks easy. You’re going to produce more of the fruit of the Spirit in my life, Lord? Sure. What a marvelous idea. Oh…wait…patience means waiting? It means being long-suffering? I have to be joyful and self-controlled while patience is being tested? Faithfully, gently, patient? And so it goes for all the character work He works into us, does it not? This refining makes our faith even more precious than anything we can imagine, for all of the praise and glory for its outcome is His.
Regardless of circumstances, keep hold of the word that we will get to the other side. He cannot fail, and we cannot fail Him, for the more we turn our eyes upon Him in obedience, the less we desire to look away. Choosing to remember and focus on the great and glorious God of our salvation makes “… the things of earth go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace” Helen H. Lemmel.
How has the Lord caused you to hope during the hard parts of your life journey?