The other day, a friend of mine made a tweet about how everyone should go read 1 Peter 2 because he said it was “very important.” So, even though I’ve been in Acts the past few weeks, I went to 1 Peter.
Plot twist: I never made it to chapter 2.
1 Peter 1:3-10 //
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”
A few things that stick out to me:
- We can rejoice in knowing that we have a God who is guarding our hope and inheritance in heaven, even as we go through various trials that are necessary.
- We can have this joy, that the writer says in inexpressible–even in trials– because we know the outcome: our soul’s salvation.
- Our pain is purpose-filled: our experiences–the joy and the trials and the joy through the trials–isn’t solely meant to be kept close to hearts, but rather, it is meant for the purpose of showing others that there is unspeakable, guarded, holy, inexpressible joy, even in the midst of pain.
- Probably one of my favorite parts is the last little phrase the writer slips in at the end of this section:”things into which the angels long to look;” I love that. I love that the angels are beings that at this very moment are sitting in the presence of God, YET we can experience this grace and joy and salvation that they will never know… And even though they sit in the perfect presence of God and have never experienced separation from Him, they still long for the one thing humans have: salvation.
I sent this chunk of Scripture to a friend of mine who’s life has been a walking testament to what it means to remain faithful in the midst of horrifying trials; she’s the definition of a modern day Job: she’s lived through the loss of a sibling, a mother crippled by grief and a lack of mental stability, a father she’s seen weakened by cancer. And just now at what seems to be her breaking point, her God-I-need-a-break point, theres a subtle realization about her life: my mother asked me why I thought my friend had to go through so much pain when she loves God so whole heartedly and lives this life for Him so well. I thought about how my friend wants to spend her life walking into homes of broken families who have watched sickness wreck havoc on their children’s lives and be a personal nanny to these kids; I simply looked at my mother and said, “Look at what she wants to do with her life. She wants to walk into broken homes and help their kids. You think she can do that if she hasn’t lived it herself? You think God wants her to do that without bringing Him into it? Of course this is the life she is going to have to live through.”
And I think we are charged with the same: God, let my life be a testament of faithfulness, especially in the midst of pain– not in spite of it, but because of it.