1 Peter 1:3,4 He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading…
Where does my hope come from? In the opening words of his letter, Peter echoes the profound teaching of Jesus that though we are born once of the flesh, it is our spiritual rebirth through Christ that gives us living hope. Though the flesh life may seem the more tangible now, both Jesus and Peter insist that our flesh life pales in comparison to the ultimate and eternal reality of our new spirit life.
I mistakenly tend to think of this spirit life as something I am rewarded with in eternity, only after death. When I flounder in the darkness of this flesh, I need not despair however. Hope is not as far off as death. I can know the reality of my spirit life in the here and now. It can be, if I will learn to perceive it, as real to me as this life of flesh and blood. In the dark night of life, I do not have to await some far-off dawn to stand in the daylight. The daylight is inside of me, here and now. The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21).
When the chaos of life threatens to overwhelm, I can anchor myself to this one profound reality. I have, in me, a living hope through faith in Jesus Christ that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. This reality provides light and peace in the greatest of my darkness and misery.
I do not mean to minimize the pains of this world. We can cause and be caused tremendous pain while in this flesh. When in the midst of my worst (self-inflicted) destruction, when my family and career hung in the balance, I found I had nothing else to cling to. I came to the point where I realized my misery had actually come from my reliance on this flesh life for comfort and meaning. My spiritual reality then became my most important reality and thus, I found hope and comfort.
My hope at that point could not be in the restoration of my family and career, for those things were not guaranteed to me. If my hope had been in those things and they evaporated, I would have indeed been hopeless and lost. My hope at that point was that even if I lost everything, I could not lose Christ in me. This is the one true hope that provides the only infallible light in my darkness.
When life is difficult (and when life is easy), I need to remind myself that this world, though the more visible to me now, is not my ultimate reality. It takes time and effort to discipline my eyes to stay focused on Christ, but when I do, I am rewarded with a heightened sensitivity to my spiritual reality. It is this spiritual life that provides me with hope, light and comfort, even in the worst this flesh life has to offer.
Though the darkness may seem to overwhelm me, with my hope in Christ, I can stand in the daylight.