“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1Peter 1:6-9)
Life sure is interesting! You never really know how things are going to turn out, or what surprise, unexpected event will alter the direction of your journey from the womb to the grave. Getting from point A to point B will most definitely involve some planning, altering those plans, some frustrations and disappointments, but hopefully, along the way, some joy. I have learned that joy is a choice, which can be experienced even through the worst of trials. Christian joy is not dependent on our circumstances, since it is rooted in our relationship with Jesus – our salvation and future inheritance, as Peter so passionately states in the first twelve verses of this letter.
Take a moment and read the passage above a few times. Notice the underlined words – “you greatly rejoice” and “your faith”. Your faith is the reason you rejoice! And, by the way, the whole passage is present tense. It is a joy that is available now, because we “believe in Him”. Keep meditating on the passage, and you will discover that it is a continual joy that Peter amplifies with words like great, inexpressible and full of glory. All this joy comes from Jesus whom we have not seen, nor do we see now, but one day we will see at His revelation. In the meantime, we get to experience a glimpse of Him in our personal relationship with Him, yet that is enough to cause great joy! “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully” (1Cor. 13:12). Peter did see Jesus, in the flesh, and glorified! He is telling us from first-hand experience, that it is worth the wait. If there is any reason to be joy-filled now, it is because our faith will be sight one day. Let me try to illustrate.
This weekend I attended a wedding – a magnificent event! Because of Covid, the official marriage ceremony took place 2 ½ years ago, in very small scale in someone’s backyard. The bride never got to wear her dress, and the groom never got to see his bride walk down the isle into his arms. And…there was no celebration meal and party to follow. But, they were now starting their lives, living together in close communion. The couple attempted to have their wedding celebration several times over the last 2.5 years, but were not permitted because of Covid restrictions. Many of us said, “why bother, you’re already married….that’s all that matters.” But, the couple never gave up on having their wedding celebration! What was missing was the JOY of the BIG DAY! The whole event of friends and family participating, the food, the laughter, the fun, the dancing, the special moments, the pictures, etc. etc. etc. For me, it was the look on the groom’s face when he saw his beautifully adorned bride walking down the isle, tears welling-up in his eyes. That was worth the “price of admission”. The outdoor wedding was glorious with the sun shining, the breeze blowing, under the magnificently decorated tent and gardens. There was fun and food, dancing and celebration. All the work that went into it; all the time spent getting everything “just so”; the trials and tears were worth it! It was joy inexplicable and full of glory!
What Peter is saying is very much like the wedding I just described. We can be filled with great joy because we have Jesus, and are untied to Him. The marriage ceremony where we became one with Him has already taken place – the new birth. We are, however anticipating the wedding celebration/feast - the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:1-9). On that day, we will see our bridegroom face to face, and He will see His bride, dressed in white, come to meet Him. There will be great feasting and celebration! All the trials and tears will be forgotten, and we will hear, “well done” to the praise, glory and honor of our Savior who has kept us for this wedding day! Friend, as we saw last week, this day is guaranteed to happen; it is already written in The Book. That’s why we can experience great joy right now, despite the trials of life. Until that day we press on, filled with joy, because our celebration day with our Husband will be glorious in all of its splendour, and the home we will share together will be spectacular. The whole thing will be beyond words – inexpressible and full of glory! Oh, what a future we have waiting for us! Meditate on that this week, and see your mourning turn to dancing!
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