Confidence in Our Destination

People a lot of times say that life is about the journey and not so much about the destination. While I agree with this to an extent (that there is much to be learned and gained along the journey), I think this season of life has shown us all that the journey is not always how we thought or planned it would be. It’s not secure and it’s not stable. However, as Christians, even though we don’t know all the details of the in between, we can be certain of the ending of the story. We can have confidence in our destination. 

I’ve recently been rewatching the new Hawaii Five O, and it’s fantastic. There are so many plot twists and turns with each and every episode. It’s difficult though to watch at times because some of my favorite characters are put in positions where I don’t know whether they will make it out alive or not. It’s nerve wracking. Yet the benefit of rewatching a show is that I know the ending. So, in those moments when it seems uncertain what will happen, I can remember the ending, and remember that even though I don’t remember a lot of the details of how they got there, that in the end, they will all be okay.

The Apostle Peter writes along similar lines to a group of spread out, exiled Christians who are facing extreme persecution in 1 Peter 1:3-9.

He writes: “3Blessed 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, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so 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. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Peter’s encouragement to this worn out, stressed out, spread out bunch is to remember the Gospel. Remember that God the Father, through Christ, in His mercy, has given them rebirth. Remember that they have an inheritance kept in heaven for them that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Remember that they are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation to be revealed in the last time. 

Therefore, in light of all this, Peter calls for the believers to rejoice! For though they are suffering, their suffering is not only temporary, but it also has a purpose: to test and strengthen the genuineness of their faith. Through these trials they will come out stronger, and in the end they will receive praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Lastly, Peter commends them for their faithfulness. Though they have never seen Jesus, they love Him. And even now, in the midst of the suffering and persecution that they face, even though they can’t see what He is doing or where He is at, they believe in Him And His promises. It is in this belief that they are filled with inexpressible, glorious, joy. In this, they are obtaining the outcome of their faith, and the salvation of their souls.

What an encouraging and pertinent passage for us as believers in this time of uncertainty. While there is much that we don’t know, there is also much that we can. We can know that in His mercy He has saved us and given us rebirth. We can know that there is an inheritance waiting for us in heaven, kept by God Himself, greater than we can even imagine. We can know that God Himself will keep us and guard is til the end. We can know that suffering is temporary, and that it has purpose. We can know Him, love Him, and believe in Him even though we have not seen Him physically. And all this knowing should cause us to rejoice.

So today, child of God, rejoice!! For your present as well as your future is secure in Christ. While others put their hope in finite, fading treasures, we put our hope in God, our rock, who will bring us safely home. 

On a side note, today is my 200th blog post, and I just want to give all glory, honor, and praise to God the Father for His faithfulness to me, and the gift of writing that He has bestowed upon me. I am unable to be and do what He has called me to do without Him. Over these past eight years of writing, while much has changed, two things have remained the same: my ever present need of Him, and His continuous faithfulness to me. I am thankful for Him showing me over and over again how much I am in need of Him, whether I am on the highest mountain or deepest valley in life. And I am also thankful for His continuous faithfulness to me. I have been blessed far more than I deserve, and I am thankful for all the people God has placed in my life that have helped encourage me, guide me, and love me as God has loved me. I am thankful that God is continually completing in me that which He started eight years ago, and I am truly blessed to be able to share this journey with all of you.

Blessings.

Faith in What is not Seen

We live in a world that loves to see to believe. We believe only if we can see, feel, touch, and experience. We need something tangible. We need to have reasons for our findings, and data that can back up those reasons. Like Thomas, we demand to see the nail marked hands and the speared side of Jesus before we will budge from our unbelief. Yet, Jesus says those who have believed despite not seeing are the ones who are truly blessed. Because ultimately on this side of heaven, faith is not seen, but it is the hope that we hope in.

This season of life has been upending for a lot of us. We feel as though the rug of comfort, stability, and security, has been pulled out from under our unsuspecting feet, and a lot of us are reeling. We’re struggling with the sudden loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of our freedoms, and the uncertainty of the once so certain future. And yet in spite of all this, in spite of all the turn over and turmoil, God remains the same. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is us that have forgotten truly that faith is not guaranteed continuous sight, but hope in the faithfulness and promises of God, even when we cannot see them. Last night the Lord provided me with a really good example of what this looks like.

Before bed each night, I make sure that our front door is locked, and then I take out my contacts. But even after I take out my contacts, I still want to (in my anxiety and fear) go back to the door that I have locked to check and see if it’s locked, and sure enough it is. Why is that? Because even though I know in my mind that I have locked the door, once I take my contacts out, from a certain distance, I cannot see that the door is locked, and so it produces anxiety. And so I return to the door, many times, before I finally believe that the door is locked in spite of me being able to see at a certain distance whether it actually is or not.

I think this example portrays many times how we approach faith. We believe that Jesus is good and faithful as long as we can see Him working. As long as we can see Him moving in us, and protecting us, and keeping us, then we rest easy that He is with us. Our struggle with faith comes when we cannot really see what He’s doing, like during this pandemic. We begin in these times to question the goodnes and faithfulness of God when we cannot truly see Him in action. Like many of us, even though we believe faith is there, and we can see a blurry outline of it, we begin to question the hope that we have when faith is not as clear as it once was.

I love the Apostle Paul’s declaration here in Romans 8:18-24 of God’s faithfulness, in spite of his inability to see it clearly:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

I love Paul’s confidence here in the unfailing faithfulness and goodness of God. Though he and other’s are experiencing sufferings, these sufferings are temporal, and not only that, but also these aren’t worth comparing to what is coming. He says we’ve only been given the firstftruits, a taste, of what is to come, and we’re groaning for that day when all will be made right. So what do we do in this already but not yet period of redemption? We hope in what we do not see, believing in the faithfulness of God, believing in the love of God, believing in the truth of the Father, and we wait eagerly with patience for our full redemption.

Paul writes in another Scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Here is the good news in the midst of the uncertainty of the times that we face. While we do not see Christ fully now, we will one day. Our view of Christ that is dimmed now, as if we are looking through a miror, will be fully clear. So we rejoice in the fact that God has graciously revealed Himself to us, even just in part, and we have faith in the hope of what we have truly hoped in. Even in the times when we cannot see that hope clearly, we continue to hold onto that hope and faith with patient endurance knowing that our sufferings here on earth are finite, and that one day, if we are in Christ, we will see Him, and know Him fully, even as we are now fully known by Him.

Jesus says in John 20:29 in responce to Thomas “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I don’t know where you are in this season of life. What hurts, disappointments, tensions, and struggles you are facing. But know this. If you are in Christ, what you see now, if only dimly, is enough to carry you to the end. Hold onto to that hope, and don’t let your own blurry vision or dimness diminish the hope that you have in Christ. Right now, we only see in part, but one day, we will see in full. I pray that you will hold onto that hope, and that the hope of the gospel and faithfulness of Christ will carry you throughout your entire life joyfully, humbly, and graciously, leading others to experience these same things along the way.

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Blessings.