Hope Investing in Eternity
In the mist of the longest Psalm, Psalm 119 we read this verse, “Remember Your Word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope (119:49).” We are reminded here that it is God who gives us His Word and actually through that Word He gives us hope. We have hope only because God always remembers His Word. So we can be confident in all He says to us. We can count on what He says. You might call it our investment. Our hope is our investment in eternity. We can hear it all through these verses in 1 Peter.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
Now here comes the investment part—our hope.
“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13
Hope Invests in Future Glory
That’s right! When suffering comes we can rejoice and be glad that we are sharing in Christ’s sufferings that will all be over when Jesus comes again in glory. Our hope for the future in Jesus Christ actually allows us to rejoice and be glad when fiery trials come because when Jesus comes, all suffering will end and we will spend eternity in heaven.
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” 1 Peter 4:19
Why can we entrust ourselves to God in a time of suffering? Because our hope is based on His Word that tells us of future glory in Jesus Christ.
Responding to Suffering
We hear it again,
“Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
What do we usually do? We fight against suffering. We don’t like it a bit. We worry, fret, lose sleep, feel awful all over things we can do nothing about. Our lack of faith shows. But here Peter says that we should humbly accept the suffering under the hand of God. Further, the cares and worries we do have, we are to cast on the broad shoulders of God. Cast them on the shoulders of our Savior who carried all burdens and cares to the cross. He defeated them there. This is our hope, once again based on God’s Word which He always remembers and keeps.
We are Spiritually Vulnerable
We are warned however. When we are living in this world and especially in our times of suffering we are spiritually vulnerable.
“Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
Satan knows us well. He will tempt us to fear, worry, concern, hopelessness. He loves to get us to have an old fashioned “pity-party” because we think we are the only one suffering. We fall into his traps over and over. Yet, we are told right here that everybody suffers at some time. How true that is right now? The whole world is caught up in this pandemic. Not just you. How do you resist? You look to God who always keeps His Word and in that Word you will find hope. In that hope given you by God, you resist Satan.
Suffering Will End
Still God gives us more hope.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11
The suffering in this world is going to end. The suffering of sickness is going to end. The suffering from the death this pandemic is causing is going to end. The sin and death in this world is going to end when Jesus Christ comes a second time, just as He promised to give us eternal glory. God’s Word says it and in His Word we hope. The Word shows His love for us and that this grace abounds.
The Word Points Us to a Faithful God
You see Peter’s letter was written to Christians who were suffering. But Peter keeps bringing us back, pointing us in a different direction. He points us to a faithful God who by His Word gives us hope. Peter tells us the story of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not avoid the suffering. He was tempted by Satan but did not give in. He was tempted to stay on the top of the Mount of Transfiguration in all His glory, but He did not. Peter himself tempted Him to avoid the cross, but He did not. He went to Jerusalem and suffered and died on the cross of
Calvary. He humbled Himself under the mighty hand of God to save us all. The suffering comes before the glory.
The Resurrection Changes Everything
Six weeks ago we celebrated what has changed everything. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. All our enemies are conquered. Sin and death are defeated. Satan is toothless. The Good Friday of suffering breaks into Easter, eternal glory. That promised eternal glory is our hope. That promised eternal glory is ours through faith in Jesus Christ who won the victory for us all.
Our Hope: Investment for Eternity
The world is suffering during this pandemic for sure. Someday it will end. But we live in a sinful world. There will be other times of suffering in the world and in individual lives. This will not change this side of heaven. But there will come a day when all suffering ceases. We don’t know when, but we know it will come. We know because God remembers His Word and always keeps it. We have been promised. Easter, eternal glory will break through. There will be no more death. No more suffering. There will just be Jesus and His victory. This is our hope, our investment for eternity. As the hymn says,
“O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal home.” (Isaac Watts, Lutheran Service Book, 733)