1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV
“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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven 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. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.“
When I read the scriptures, especially the Gospels, I try to imagine myself there, watching what is happening, listening to the words being spoken, painting a picture in my mind of what is taking place. Years ago I had the privilege of being able to spend a week in Jerusalem so I can mentally picture being in the Garden of Gethsemane or on the Mount of Olives plus some of the other Biblical locations. At times I can almost smell the air. It is such a very special place and I am from a land that is so far far away.
The Apostle Peter speaks of the living hope that we have and this is true. When you really stop to think about it, the fact that we have this living hope, that is all about a man who lived many years ago in a land on the other side of the world, who lived and died and rose again, and He is now my hope, it kind of boggles the mind. It’s true, I’ve never seen Jesus, Lord knows I’d would love to. I’ve never heard His voice, at least not externally, but there is this yearning to be in His presence, to close that gap between all those years, between all that distance and most importantly, between my heart and His.
When you put yourself in the shoes of someone who has never honestly looked at the life and ministry of Jesus and what He accomplished, looking at everything from His perspective, it REALLY is a big journey, a big step. Everything that we see in this world is aimed at the physical/material. Of course Jesus demonstrated and validated Himself in the physical/material world while speaking of and pointing to the Heavenly/spiritual reality.
We are surrounded with so many things that we take for granted, ourselves, our families, the choices we have, the rights we have, the earth we live on, the solar system, galaxy and universe we live in, never really contemplating how they got here, how amazingly they work and how intricately they are designed. There is world, Biblical and Church history to become aware of, values to honestly examine, truth to find, comprehend and acknowledge and of course, when you have the time to get around to it, self examination.
In my early twenties (before I became a Christian) I have ironed out how the rules were supposed to work, there are do’s and don’ts for everyone else that have to be followed if things were to be fair (for me) and then there are the rules that I have to follow, only in my particular case, a lot of the rules that apply to everyone else, don’t apply to me.
Becoming a Christian and being “born again” is huge. It’s like switching from black and white TV to colour TV… (yes I know, I’m giving my age away). And don’t forget God’s Holy Word, our spiritual food, our life line, our path to actually knowing God. Most of us had no idea we had totally missed so much. All of this learning is normal, some of it hurts, and some of it has to be repeated over and over again until we finally complete that particular lesson. You don’t want to know how big the actual course is!
There are so many things to learn about and these are all important, but most importantly, what matters most, what makes our living hope real is the beginning and continued growth of a relationship with God our Heavenly Father through Jesus, His only begotten Son and the Holy Spirit, that bridges the years, the distance and the emptiness. I compare this relationship with God to my marriage with my wife (there’s a Bible lesson here if you look for it). My wife and I have been married now for 45+ years. When we first got married we didn’t have a clue, literally. We raised 5 children, have 6 grandchildren and I love my wife so much more now than I did when we first got married. Don’t get me wrong, I married the girl of my dreams and if ever there was a guy that was crazy about his wife, it was me. But …….. I know her heart now a lot better than I did when we first got married, she’s always stood by me, often when I didn’t deserve it, and she has proved her love to me time and time again. She is literally part of me, I would not be complete without her, we are one and that is the way it is supposed to be.
That’s how I feel about Jesus. Oh the stories I could tell you, but it is His love, the love that comes from the Father, the love that He gives me when I don’t deserve it, He’s never failed me, never. That is my living hope, to be with Him. I marvel at His Grace.