Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… 1 Peter 1:3
Last weekend, I was given the opportunity to go to The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference in Indianapolis. Built around the book of 1 Peter, the theme “Resurrection Life in a World of Suffering” focused on how we as Christians respond to suffering in our own lives and in the world, specifically as it relates to the Body of Christ around the world. When I saw that several ladies from my church would be attending, I thought how awesome it would be to go along. But, I thought it was not possible in this season of seminary life, with limited finances and time. It was my husband who brought it up to me one day, saying that he wanted me to go. Having wanted to go to one of these conferences for the past four years, I couldn’t believe it was actually within my reach.
So many times, my husband has encouraged me to just trust God and ask for His provision. God also put it on the heart of one generous woman, whom I had not even met, to pay for my lodging and transportation. God was putting this together, it was unmistakable. A week before I was to go, I sprained my foot and even considered not going. But thankfully, God and my husband really wanted me to go! A wheelchair was provided and eight loving, older women gave of their time to wheel me around the convention center!
There are many types of suffering in this world. The seasons of suffering that I have experienced in my life have been mostly that of anxiety. Unless you have experienced this category of suffering, it is hard to understand, and it is hard to know how to comfort. And yet suffering in any form can propel Christians into the loving and faithful arms of God and cause us to depend more heavily on Christ, on the Father, and on the Holy Spirit. As I’ve sought the Lord for comfort throughout those difficult seasons, I have found that others whom I have admired and looked to for teaching and wisdom have also suffered deeply with depression and anxiety. From theologians to missionaries to missional mothers. When I read of their stories of faith and struggle, I am comforted and encouraged to persevere.
These themes and thoughts were fed by the expository teaching of 1 Peter to this crowd of 7,000 women who had gathered to be filled with hope! And we were! Fed by the faithful teaching from Scripture, verse by verse, a whole conference based on the Word of God, passed down through the ages, and now here for us to feast on Hope!
That is what we need in this age of unparalleled suffering amongst the Body of Christ, sufferings of all kinds, as we live in a world filled with despair. The daughters of God need the resurrection life of Christ living and flowing through us, so that we will be filled with hope, overflowing with it, and daily living that out in our homes, our families, our neighborhoods, wherever the Lord has sovereignly placed us.
At times, the suffering in our own lives and the suffering in the world can threaten to undo us and sweep over us like a wave of despair. Yet, Jesus lovingly reaches down to us with a clear call to resist the Enemy of our souls and his roaring, and remember that Jesus has conquered sin and death. For all who repent and believe in Him, to those He has given the right to become children of God, children of Hope! IC XC NIKA, Jesus Christ conquers!
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus name
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand
~Words by Edward Mote