Glorious Joy! - 6 April 2022
By Ewald Schmidt
The first readers of Peter’s letter were overwhelmed by a flood of bad news. They experienced the rejection of their communities, because they had changed when they believed in Christ. It became very dangerous to confess Jesus as Lord in the Roman Empire, when the emperor wanted to be worshipped as lord. When your life is in danger, it seems impossible to imagine joy, glorious joy! We are deeply touched by the refugees fleeing Ukraine at the moment, seeing their trauma, and the shock on their faces.
Yet, we need something to make life bearable in such times. We cannot endure the pressure of persecution for very long if we do not have a source of hope. We need something to live for, greater than ourselves, able to elevate us above our difficult times.
The first readers of Peter’s letter gave their lives to follow Jesus as Lord. They had become new creations through faith in him. It brought great suffering for them. The love of Christ carried them through these trying times. He touched their lives and changed them, so that they had this burning desire to live for him, to his glory. They found a purpose in life, they were on the way to be with Jesus in his Father’s house. And even when the persecution raged so cruelly around them, and the suffering became intense, they knew that no man could take God’s love away from them. God’s love for them awakened love for him in their lives, the Lord that they had not yet seen.
The Lord of the Christians of the 1st century in the Roman Empire is still the living God today – our Lord. We have also received his love in abundance. We know his fatherly love, we experience his mercy and care. Because we have received his grace and peace, we love him with passion. In this relationship of faith with the living God, we find our hope that carries us through all the storms of life. We do more than barely survive, we have discovered the life of abundance that Jesus has promised us in John 10:10, for everyone who follows him as the good Shepherd. In the midst of our suffering, we discover something extraordinary. Glorious joy! Inexpressible, our words cannot describe it. We find a gratitude in our relationship with God, our lives have meaning even in difficult times. We experience that God is walking with us, guiding us to a better future. His love is greater than our challenges, and his hope is deeper than our pain. In his presence, we find glorious, inexpressible joy!
Prayer: Thank you for your love, Lord, that you have paid the price for me at Calvary. Thank you that I am a new creation in Christ through faith. I belong to you, and this gives me strength to endure any hardships I face during my journey of life. Thank you for joy: glorious, inexpressible joy in my life through your grace in me. Amen