Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (1 Peter 1:3-5)
My aunt Phyllis died this week. Because of where we are right now in the country, many of those who loved her were not able to attend her very small and quickly done funeral. The family is not only grieving her loss, we are also grieving not being able to grieve together.
As I thought about my aunt this week, I remembered two conversations that greatly impacted me being a person of faith. The first one happened when I was 11, while spending a week with her family at their summer house on Lake Michigan. On my last night with them we had a bonfire on the beach. I was sitting between my aunt and her Dad and in a quiet moment she said, “Jamie, we would like to talk with you about faith. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your personal Lord and Savior?” I didn’t know what to say, but what I wanted to do was jump into the freezing lake.
Seven years later I am with my aunt again late one night. She said, “Do you remember the question my Dad and I asked you on the beach years ago?” I said that I did. She said, “Well, where are you and Jesus now?” I said that I didn’t know. She then said, “Someday I believe that you will.” Even though I scoffed at her assurance then, her words did prove to be true because 6 years later I was in seminary.
My aunt didn’t give me faith—that gift comes from God. What she did give me, though, was the premonition that faith would someday matter to me—and in time, it did. I can’t imagine my life without faith. My faith grounds, supports, leads, heals, and gives me hope.
As Christians, we believe that our faith is in Jesus. He is not a concept, an idea, a wish, or a theory. He is a person. He is the really real. He is our hope now and forever.
In today’s scripture, Peter talks about the “living hope” that we can have through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the resurrection, no one would have ever remembered Jesus, ever recalled His words, ever recounted the miracles He performed.
The hope of the resurrection isn’t simply that Jesus was once raised from the dead, or that He will someday raise us when we die. Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, we can hope that He is with us now.
Are you feeling alone right now? If so, claim the hope that Jesus is at your side. Are you feeling anxious? If so, claim the hope that Jesus can give you peace. Are you afraid that your life, our life, will never return to normal? If so, trust in the hope of His guidance to get us through this time.
As I write these words, I am giving thanksgiving for my aunt, for her life here with us, for the difference she made to so many, and for the hope of her resurrected life in the resurrection arms of Jesus.
- What is the hope you need from Jesus right now?
- What in you, what for you, needs His resurrection power?
- Other than wanting this time, this virus, to be over, what else are you hoping for?