God’s promises are great. As an example, read this biblical promise from the book of 1Peter that will be the focus of today’s message:
“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
This aforementioned verse is deeply reassuring in that it reminds us of God’s love, mercy and grace. We can offer a succinct interpretation like this: When things go really, really bad, we can count on God’s Iron-clad promises. Now mind you, we sometimes do not sense God in the midst of our challenges and this can be a problem. Critics make valid observations that we Christians can be quick to dismiss real pain and suffering. This is why we must exercise care and not spew blithe statements such as “God will take care of it.” On the surface this sounds OK and our first impulse might be to always agree with this approach. Yet, there are times when our God doesn’t seem to respond to our pleas as expected, and in such cases it might not be the best strategy to make people feel even worse when they aren’t relieved from their suffering.
Whatever your view of God’s response to our prayers, Peter’s message reminds us that, spiritually speaking at least, God will not let us perish. Yes, most people will grow old, get sick and die. In other words, God isn’t obligated to save us from the human condition as long as we are on this earth. However, we remain firmly planted in the Kingdom of Heaven despite what happens to us on earth. Speaking of which, did you know that the writer of Peter didn’t stop with just spiritual promises? The author encouraged us to be humble, non-anxious, and to discipline ourselves as we keep alert and resist evil. All this suggests that we can’t rest on our spiritual laurels while staring up in heaven waiting for Jesus’ return.
When is the last time that you claimed one of God’s promises? It’s not always easy to claim a promise when we only look at things from an earthly perspective. We get sick, and we want to be well; we lose money, and we want more; we are frustrated, and we want satisfaction. Yet, God can operate at a higher level behind these so-called surface problems. Sure, we are physical beings who need things for survival. The challenge remains to claim God’s promises along with enduring the often unpleasant mosaic of human existence. We do not live by bread alone scripture reminds us, but by every word (or promise) of God.
I pray that God will reveal marvelous promises in our church. We’ve already seen new people come to our church and increase our joy. Keep on praying and keep on expecting God to reveal great things in us and through us. God is still speaking and God is not yet done with us!
–Reverend Larry Hoxey