As the father of two beautiful children, I have witnessed the miracle of birth first hand. It is one of the most amazing and horrifying things I’ve ever experienced. :) Years of praying, nine months of growing, and hours of pushing result in the beginning of a new chapter in our lives as parents and in our child’s. In nearly every way this new life has the freshest and cleanest of views of the world. Nothing has been tainted but all is new to be discovered.
Yet we all know that difficult times will come to this new life as we all can speak from personal experience. We quickly realize that life is hard and full of challenges that will test even our toughest resolve. What I pray for my children is not that they live a challenge free life, but that one day they will meet Jesus as their Lord and Savior and these challenges will take on a new form. You see, a Believer in Christ no longer sees challenges as things to endure, but opportunities to slowly transform into the person God wants them to be. As Peter says, “though now you for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith…may be proven genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6b-7)
What suffering and trials do for us is refine us into who God wants us to be. Not so that we can follow the rules closer and learn from our mistakes, but that we may come into a closer relationship with Him. As the writer of Hebrews says, “The former regulation is set aside because it is weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced by which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 6:18-19). The reward for this endurance is not found in our ability to overcome these by our strength, but is rooted in a “new living hope” which is Jesus Christ. Earlier in 1 Peter we read, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you…” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
You see we worship a God that isn’t dead, but very much alive. He may have been crucified as a common criminal, but nothing about his death was common. For crying out loud not even the confines of death could keep Him down and as a result we are given the confidence and hope of that same victory! This is the hope that never dies and allows us the confidence to keep pushing forward in all that we do.
So may we grasp the truth that although the world may no longer be a blank canvas as it was when were born, the hope we find in Christ propels us forward into the masterpiece that is a life rooted in Him. No matter what this life may throw at you and I, it can never kill our Hope.