I had been on a plane for the past two days. Now I was arriving in the middle of the night on the other side of the world in Kathmandu, Nepal – a country that will always hold a huge part of my heart. I lived in Nepal almost 3 years total. I love those people with a ferocious love.
But this time was different. This time I was afraid. I tried to prepare my heart for what I would see in this country that had been devastated by two large, 7.8 earthquakes. I arrived three days after the last big one. I came to try to offer hope in the midst of hopelessness.
Early the next morning a group of us crammed into a jeep to take the long journey to one of the hardest hit villages. Rubble was everywhere. The streets I had known and loved looked foreign to me as the buildings were no longer standing.
When we reached the first village, my life was changed forever.
Maybe you have had one of those life-changing moments – when your world is rocked by unexpected suffering…
A phone call that held the news of the unexpected.
A doctor’s appointment that held a medical diagnosis that changed everything.
A broken relationship that you have tried everything to fix.
How can you have hope beneath the rubble of these circumstances?
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:6-7
1 Peter 1:3-9 reminds of us how we find hope beneath any rubble of earthshaking circumstance. We cling to the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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When I got out of the jeep and rounded that first hill in Nepal, I saw a church that had been shaken to the point that the building was pancaked flat. There were eight bodies still inside that church; there were dead bodies beside it. Huddled under a piece of tin was a group of people who had survived. They were waiting on me to give them hope.
The earth shook again with the tremble of a large aftershock, and those survivors’ eyes held the terror of the trembling.
And I wondered, “how could hope be found here?”
That is hope. The cross.
That is how I can greatly rejoice through trials of any kind. I know God is refining my faith to be purified like gold.
As you read 1 Peter chapter 1, know that the hope of the gospel never changes. It is what gives hope beneath the rubble.
It is what I clung to that day, seeing unbelievable suffering.
It is what I clung to when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer the first time. And the second time.
It is what I clung to when my sister and her family were in a devastating accident.
It is what I clung to when I waited in an ICU waiting room as my niece was suffering brain bleeding from an accident.
It is what you can cling to in your good days and your worst days. It is what gives you strength to face the past, to rest in today, to trust in the future.
Peter wanted his readers to know there is a hope that can sustain us in the darkest of days. It is our living hope, given to us through the resurrection of Jesus, and guarded for us by the power of our Heavenly Father.
Are you facing something that is testing your faith today? Will you trust that God is using this for your good and his glory?