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Joyful Expectations

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 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.

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:6-9 NLT

As believers in Christ, we have a promise of salvation – a priceless inheritance of eternal life with God in heaven. The expectation of heaven should bring us into joyful hope as we await the promise that God protects in heaven. A promise that is shielded from all that might harm it. A promise kept pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. A promise worthy of praise and rejoicing!

What expectations of salvation do you have?

Living a life of joyful expectation and hope has been a rocky road for me. While the promises of God looked good on paper, I rarely allowed the expectation of eternal life to bring joy and hope into my life. Pain and suffering had taken their toll, and I didn’t dare let myself hope for anything beyond the scraps the world had given me. To hope for anything more required too much vulnerability, too much trust – too much faith. Instead of faith, fear smothered joyful expectations of anything more that God promised, leaving me empty and hopeless.

Faith in Christ is the key to unlocking hope. When we dare to exercise our faith and trust in Christ, God’s protection covers us, making it safe for us to patiently wait and hope for the promises of God in this life and eternity!

Growing faith and trust in Christ brought healing and fueled my hope that the promises of God are guaranteed for me regardless of any pain and suffering I endure. Even so, remaining hopeful is tricky, and joy remains elusive. Despite knowing better, I often fall prey to the culture of instant gratification that demands God’s promises be manifested NOW! I get so busy trying to pinpoint the delivery time for God’s promises in this life that I don’t slow down to consider the riches God has for me in the next life. In my hast, hopelessness resurfaces, and I ping-pong back and forth between impatience and wounding, an exhausting cycle that steals the joy Jesus died for me to have.

Peter addresses this issue in his letter to brothers and sisters suffering persecution in a foreign land. Peter reminds them of the gift they have because they believe in Jesus Christ. Just as he did in his letter to first-century believers, Peter challenges us to realize what we have in Christ by refusing to let life’s circumstances and fear rob us of our joy and hope.

Holy Spirit, guide me through times of woundedness and impatience. Teach me to pause and settle in the protection of God’s presence as I look past the happenings of this life to envision the experience of eternal perfection with Jesus. Allow the loving presence of God to be the birthplace of joyful hope. Help me to rejoice in the gift of salvation that Christ has made possible!

Journal prompts:

  • Have you allowed the gift of salvation to initiate hope in your life?

  • What fuels your expectations more: fear or faith?

  • Take a moment to sit under the protection of God’s love and imagine the riches of eternal life with Jesus. What thoughts, feelings, or images come to mind?

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