…to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. – 1 Peter 1:4
As the popular saying goes, April showers bring May flowers…but just like desiring the sun after days of rain, sometimes it’s difficult to wait for the good stuff to get here.
The book of 1 Peter was written to encourage Christians who were going through extended brutal persecution by the Romans. Today, we in the United State are not (yet) experiencing this kind persecution, but there are parts of the world where Christians are regularly tortured and killed for their faith. We are, however, seeing political/social persecution… such as being required to support abortion and homosexuality or face fines or even imprisonment. As we live in the “last days,” we should expect to experience increasingly more trouble simply for standing up for what the Bible teaches. But Peter wanted both the Christians of his day (and us) to know that, though they were “distressed by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6), this world was not their real home (1:17b; 2:11a; 5:10) and that they had an inheritance in Heaven that no one could take from them (1:3-5). In essence, he was telling them that the best was yet to come.
The Bible teaches that the days just before the coming of the Lord will be filled with dangers for believers, but we are to hold fast and not yield to the evils and temptations which will grow increasingly stronger (2 Tim. 3; 2 Pet. 3). The enemy can use these chaotic times to make us fearful. But remember that he is no match for the Holy Spirit living in us (1 John 4:4) and we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 8:37). We should prepare ourselves for battle (Eph. 6:10-18), while remembering the battle belongs to the Lord (Prov. 21:31). We are living in exciting times and can have confidence that we have been given the tools to be prepared and victorious. for we know that the best is yet to come!
The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1
As I watched the news today, I began to become fearful about events going on around the world. Freedom is being threatened in Hong Kong, the Ebola virus seems to be out of control in west Africa, children across america are contracting Enterovirus that is paralyzing and in some cases causing death, and war in the middle-east. All of these events are scary and things seem to be getting worse. Will there ever be an end? It’s enough to cause great fear for the future of our country and world. What can we do?
We need to keep in mind that God is still on His throne and in control. He always has been and He always will be. In all things He has a purpose in either causing or allowing things to take place. He is never taken by surprise or caught off guard. But when our personal “world” is crumbling around us, it’s oftentimes difficult to remember but essential that we do.
We must also keep in mind that God loves us with perfect love and has promised that everything (good and seemingly bad) that touches our lives will work together for His glory and our benefit (Rom. 8:28). Jesus was tortured and killed was horrible; but God allowed it and caused it to work for the salvation of the whole world! Also, we are living in the “last days” before Jesus returns to the earth for His people. While that’s exciting to think about, it also means that the world is going to get worse and worse as it is being prepared to embrace the Antichrist.
As we live in this scary world, we are to keep on living for Jesus day by day. We are to keep on loving our families, entrusting them to God. We should make plans for the future, but we met trust God for that future because He holds it in His hands. As the world becomes more scary by the day, we must never stop fighting against the enemy in the strength of the Holy Spirit.
We don’t have to be fearful. God has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He holds us in His hand (John 10:28-30) and nothing can remove us from His hand or separate us from His love (Rom 8:39-39). As an old pilot once said, “When days seem darkest because of the clouds, the sun is still shining. We just have to climb up higher to be able to see it. May we climb higher each day as we desire to let Him live through us and bring glory to His name (Gal. 2:20). His perfect love will cast out any fear we have (1 John 4:18)