Thursday, April 27, 2017
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 1:8-9(NLT)
Peter wrote to Christians scattered throughout the world, many of whom he’d never seen, and yet he had confidence in their faith, and understood their joyful stand for Christ in the face of extreme hardship and persecution. When he exulted in their love for Christ even though he knew they had never seen Jesus in the flesh, it was because he was remembering the words of Jesus to Thomas shortly after the resurrection:
Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” John 20:29(NLT)
How is it possible to love someone you’ve never seen? How is it you can trust someone with your eternal soul without a single personally-witnessed event displaying that person’s trustworthiness? How can you have overflowing joy when all you’ve got to show for loving and trusting is hardship?
The answers to those questions are simple, but not simplistic; it is expressed in the lines of the simplest song we teach our children about faith:
Jesus loves me, this I know…
Jesus can be known even without seeing him face to face. Untold millions have experienced the inexpressible joy of loving and trusting him throughout the last two millennia, and it is entirely by faith.
This is possible is by the spiritual eyes faith gives us to love, even before we’ve seen. I look at my little great-granddaughter Sophia’s toes and an inexpressible joy makes me want to sing; it is a reaction to the worth of that little life we anticipate for the future; we see (by faith) the possibilities, sorrows and joys her life may hold.
In the same way when a person begins to love God by trusting Christ for salvation, God’s Spirit opens our eyes of faith to see the incredible future of a saved soul. And that speaks the eternal language of joy to our souls. It is a language that is simple, basic, and makes the clearest possible sense…and yet, is unintelligible to anyone who resists the love of God in Christ.
That’s why Peter called this loving, trusting joy inexpressible. There is no way to explain it to someone who has not experienced it, and totally unnecessary to explain it to those who have. It’s like tasting Häagen-Dazs® Rum Raisin ice cream for the first time; there’s just no way to tell anyone else just how you know will need to have more – it’s just so!
The love of Jesus is sweeter than any ice cream or watermelon on a hot summer’s day. Loving and trusting him with all you are, and will be, is better than baby toes, richer than a stuffed bank account, and more satisfying than any praise the world offers; He brings inexpressible joy to the core of your soul!