Thursday, September 23, 2010

happily ever after

I remember that some of my favorite fairy tales, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, ended with the phrase: "and they lived happily ever after."  The heroes of the stories had come through life-threatening trials and ultimately found true love and happiness.  The result was a 'forever' kind of love and the impression was that their trials were past.  As we read the first chapter of First Peter we see that Peter is writing to a people who are living a sort of paradox.  They have trusted in the Lord and have the certain knowledge that they have been redeemed from their sin.  They now know God, not as a distant king, but as a personal Father.  Peter says that they have been "born again" as new people entirely, and yet they are not experiencing a "happily ever after" kind of life yet.  He is writing to encourage them because, despite this great salvation and restoration to God, they are enduring great trials.  They have fled Jerusalem and all that is familiar because they are no longer accepted by other Jews who haven't come to faith in Christ as Messiah.  They have left the comforts of tradition, routine and social acceptance .  They have traded all this for a life resembling fugitives, living in foreign lands among unfamiliar people and uncomfortable lifestyles.  So Peter is writing to encourage them that their faith will ultimately lead to "happily ever after" but that God has purpose for them on the far side of faith and the near side of Heaven...while they still are alive in fhe flesh.  They must be uncomfortable now for at least two reasons: (1) to demonstrate what it looks like to live in the flesh while obeying, trusting and loving God at the personal level and (2) to demonstrate what it looks like to love each other fervently.  They are to be living pictures of what life looks like when God takes up residence in the human heart.  At the end of the chapter he quotes the prophet Isaiah to remind them that their lives on earth are temporary but that God's word will last forever.  He wants them to remember that their new lives sprang from the promise of God's word and although they are tested and tried, there truly is a "happily ever after" just ahead.
1 Peter 1:13  Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(verses 8-9) Though you have not seen Him, you love HIm; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Rob Smith

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