The recent news of a suicide jumper in our city was staggering. And although -because of prison ministry- we hear of this with frequency, this one in particular left me breathless.
The cruelty of hopelessness had yet again administered its vile venom into another beautiful soul, and claimed it as its own. This was only the second day of December!
The emotions caught up with me and propelled me into a distant memory where I found myself sitting on my own kitchen floor. I was aching, raging, and confused, while searching within myself with impetuous fervor, for a manner in which to end it all -my life.
God’s greatest foe has a message for humanity. His is not one of the good news of great joy. Nor is it the sound of freedom for the captives.
It is rather the very antithesis of the Gospel: that joyous sound of heaven, the delightful command of good news to the poor, hopeless and bound. Satans’ is a pronouncement of destruction and death! Through his hordes of devils He continually resounds from hell a horrific chorus towards all humanity ‘ ill will towards mankind and may war abound within their souls.’
Hopelessness has its roots in hell. It is the fruit of the forbidden tree and all who take a bite of it, will yield all things self: self-sufficiency, self justification, self righteousness self-pity, self deprecation or self harm. Such is the pernicious aim of the devil’s ingenious and pitiful design. Its plot is sinister and deception is its methodology. It fools the image bearer into thinking he can be productive without intimacy, rule without communion, and gain life avoiding all suffering and trials related to the Cross.
1 Peter, is the Epistle of the Living Hope. These passages are so fitting for THIS holiday season and THIS year in particular! This is a time when so many in the church and outside are reeling from a lack of being able to grasp more fully what hope truly is.
And now, similar to nature’s clock work, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is unwillingly bearing fruit, signaled by the pressures in our lives. The full blooming fruit shrouds the brilliance of true hope: the promise that Christ has come and will come again. He has so faithfully and courageously finished the work on the cross that was set before Him, that we might become His friends and benefactors of finished work. He is still proclaiming the name of the Father through this epistle.
Look at the living hope we have been given - a salvation that will be revealed one day at the appearing of the Son of man! Did we forget? Or perhaps maybe we have never known it that way?
This was the hope of the apostles, disciples and the early church. We, along with them, are awaiting a day when we inherit that which will never lose its luster, permanence, and beauty; Christ himself. He is our exceedingly great reward!
Louder than the amplified lies of Christ’s enemies, we now have a song of hope that we sing:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 1 Peter 1:3
We cry for Joy understanding that this faith that we now have is preserving our souls and the trials that are permitted are all according to the foreknowledge of God the Father! This testing will yield fruit of another tree - praise to the Glory of His name alone.
7. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
The way forward then is this:
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put ALL your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.
I do not claim to know what this means for that beautiful image bearer who ended his life that day, nor for the abyss of pain many of his family will endure perhaps for generations. And though I sorrow deeply for his family, I still rejoice in this:
all things that are counterfeit, have a prescribed end! And he who judges them will do so rightly
There will one day be no more anguish and with you will live for time eternal.