11 February 2021

I know with great certainty that I am not the only person who had a rough year in 2020. In many ways, I think we could all agree that last year brought a lot of hurt and suffering to our lives. Missing out on church gatherings, being separated from family, losing loved ones, the list goes on and looks different for everyone.

Personally, getting engaged proved to be one of my biggest challenges of 2020 (who would’ve thought!). Covid really threw a spanner in the works that derailed all expectations of this period of life.  From physical separation to postponing a wedding, I found myself frustrated and upset that everything was not playing out as I had imagined. I had never felt such compulsion to trust wholeheartedly in God’s timing.

Through my reading of 1 Peter, I’ve been impacted by Peter’s unshaken joy and assurance of our inheritance found through Jesus, and it has encouraged me to have his same mindset. When speaking of sufferings and trials, he says,

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed”. (1 Peter 1:7).

What joy there is to be had in Jesus, despite all the challenges and disappointments we may be facing! Instead of wallowing in despair, we should respond to suffering with the confidence that God knows, plans and directs our lives for his glory. We should persevere, not giving in to bitterness or distress, and have courage because with Jesus as our Saviour, we do not need to be afraid. He who suffered for us will not abandon us.

Take my engagement as an example; I’ve found so much joy in our situation. I’ve been thankful, rather than bitter, for the time to grieve the loss of what we thought engagement would be, and for the time to learn to care for one another in the sadness. We have often stood back and thanked God for what he has blessed us with, instead of all we may have missed out on. His timing, although much different to ours, proved itself to be perfect and good (Proverbs 16:9).

Peter’s praise to God follows on in vs 8 and 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 end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.

I aspire, every day, to fix my mind on Christ, and to be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. What a powerful image, and how perfectly does it describe the power of redemption and salvation!

I’m determined to wake up every morning and thank God for all of his blessings and consciously think of them when I’m feeling low. Thank Him for the gift of marriage, Covid restrictions lifting, ministries resuming, work, family, friends, and most importantly, Jesus our Lord.

I encourage you to thank God for his blessings, and to be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

Joss Heap
Communications & Admin Assistant | 7pm Congregation