With all of the uncertainty around us, I find myself drawn to the lyrics of a song from Andrew Peterson titled “Is He Worthy?” In it, he asks:
Do you feel the world is broken?
Do you feel the shadows deepen?
Do you wish you could see it all made new?
Each time the answer is simply, “We do.” Perhaps you feel the weight of those questions as you walk through trials and hardships. The reality of the trials we face leads us to ask: Is there any hope?
This Easter season we have an amazing opportunity to find hope – a hope that is not based on ourselves, on other people, or on our circumstances.
1 Peter 1:3-7 describes for us the hope we can have: “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.”
Notice that God never promises a trial-free or a pain-free life. Verse 6 acknowledges that we will be grieved by trials in this life. We find the same truth in James 1:2 which says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” Yet, the promise of hardships in life does not lead us to despair or hopelessness. Notice that in the same paragraph where Peter acknowledges trials, he also points us to a “living hope” in Christ.
This hope is very different than just wishful thinking. Hope in Scripture is a sure confidence in something.
What things, then, can we be confident in because of what Christ has done – because of what we are celebrating this Easter season? 1 Peter 1 shows us several. First, we can be confident in “His great mercy” (1 Peter 1:3). We can be confident that our sins are forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice in our place. Second, we can be confident that God uses the hardships of life for good. In 1 Peter 1:7 above, as well as in James 1:2-4, we see that God redeems our trials for our growth and for His glory. Third, we can be confident that our future with God is sure. Peter says we have an “inheritance… kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). We can be confident that if we are in Christ, then eternity in God’s presence is coming. It will be a time when all the brokenness is healed, the shadows go away, and we get to see everything made new.
This type of confidence and hope is not dependent on us. This type of hope is a grace gift from God – only God can give it. 1 Peter 1:3 tells us that “He [God] has caused” us to have this living hope. Just a few verses later we are told that it is “by God’s power” that we are being guarded. There is such hope knowing that God does these things for us that we could never do ourselves.
The song I referenced at the beginning reminds me of that hope. It also asks these questions: Does the Father truly love us? Does the Spirit move among us? And does Jesus our Messiah hold forever those He loves? The answer to each question quite simply is “He does.” Can you confidently say that? Do you know that your sins are forgiven? Do you know that God is holding you in the trials and bringing good out of them? Do you know that eternity in God’s presence awaits? I pray that this Easter season each of us grow in being rooted in this living hope.
Grady Smith is pastor of Gateway Baptist Church at 3300 Bell Road in Montgomery. Learn more at www.gatewaybaptist.com.