My Mom has cancer.
My friend lost her full-term baby.
My cousin has a terminal illness.
How many times have you faced your own similarly jarring realities and been forced to acknowledge the fallenness of this world? Everyone has a story of unfairness, an ache, an injustice; mine is just an example of the pain I know you feel daily.
My daily morning routine is usually simple: coffee, emails, hair, makeup, breakfast, pack lunch, leave for work. As I was scampering through a more complex routine, trying to complete the normal tasks plus packing for an afternoon photographing clients on a mountain, my husband’s truck refused to start. He couldn’t get to work.
My word of the year is grace; specifically, my goal is to enjoy grace. As my Bible Study group is studying 1 Peter inductively right now, I am continually struck by how much of my life will be transformed if I follow the instruction in 1 Peter 5: 12:
“This is the true grace of God; stand firm in it.”
Today? Why today?? I have to get to work early! I have extra work to do before I leave! I need to look extra pretty, have all my photo gear packed up, remember all the things I need for a twelve-hour day! God! Why did you have to let the truck fail today?!
As I learn more about that true grace of God (salvation) and how to stand firm in it, I am particularly struck by Peter’s admonition in verse thirteen of chapter one:
“Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
What is Hope?
Google says it’s a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen. Strong’s Concordance defines hope within the biblical context: “to wait for salvation with joy and confidence.” If I am living in hope, living in a desire for a future event, the complexities of today should not jar me with as much intensity. The cliche of Christian circles, then, is actually a reality: living in light of eternity is going to change my priorities and perspectives and problems.
If I am completely focused on anything, I am not leaving room for distraction. As I completely focus on writing this essay, I am less likely to troll Facebook or play with my kitten or go tend to the dirty dishes. With complete focus, I am able to type faster and think clearer and finish sooner. With room for distraction, though, I am leaving room for slowing my progress and sidetracking my efforts and procrastinating on finishing well.
I love the Strong’s definition of completely in verse thirteen: unwavering. Have you ever walked across a suspension bridge? A couple ropes strung between trees and a pathway suspended in the air. The bridge isn’t any less stable, but my ability to trust its strength is compromised by the constant moving of the walkway.
If I waver in my hope, I tend to let hopelessness creep in. Hopelessness is not my future. Hope is. (Jeremiah 29:11).
What is the revelation of Jesus Christ?
Christ has promised to return (Hebrews 9:28, Revelation 22:12 – 15) and take us to the place He prepared for us (John 14:2, 3) and He’ll be fulfilling all His promises. He’ll be revealing all the hoped-for good that we rest in.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
I heard the still, small voice as clearly as I ever have: “Jennifer, darling, why aren’t you fixing your hope completely on My Grace?” Gulp. Oops. Ouch. Here I’ve been trying to remember how my God’s ways are higher and better than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9) yet when my morning routine is going to be affected, I promptly forget: all things are in His control.
If I completely hope in the revelation of Jesus Christ, how will this change my life?
- Without hope, life is pure pain. With hope, the pain is moving toward my sanctification and God’s glory (Romans 8:28).
- With hope, I can look to the Ultimate Future (Titus 1:2).
- Without hope, I have no purpose (2 Corinthians 4:8 – 10).
- With hope, my foundation is Sure (Isaiah 40:28).
I may not always remember where my hope lies, but when life throws me a curve ball, I can be so thankful for an unwavering, hope-filled future. Whether it’s a “big” curveball like cancer or a “little” curveball like a truck refusing to start, God is bigger.
Maybe God was protecting John from an accident that he would’ve been part of if he’d left on time. Maybe God wanted John and me to have that extra thirty minutes to talk as I drove him to work. Maybe God was using this to continue to teach me about putting my hope and confidence completely in Him. Maybe I will never know (on this earth) why I had to fast forward my morning routine and drive my husband to work. But if I live an eternity-focused life, I will not be irked at the inconvenience of driving thirty minutes in the opposite direction; I will be grateful for God’s hand in my life.
In the big challenges, in the little challenges: if my hope is completely fixed on the grace to be brought to me at the revelation of Jesus Christ, my attitude and perspective will be forever changed.