By Joni Wood
Two years ago my husband and I eagerly pursued teaching assignments in China. We were convinced God was leading us on an adventure of faith to the other side of the world. It wasn’t an easy journey, however.
We ran into many roadblocks. A friend who assured us he could get us on with his school could not. A journey to Washington, D.C. to obtain our visas at the Chinese Embassy was met with rejection. Pushed to the point of despair, we held on and at the last moment, we found ourselves in the midst of a whirlwind 10-day period that ended with us serving Christ in Asia! Our hope was definitely active. We prayed prayers, wrote letters, filled out documents, stored belongings, and made travel arrangements.
No Room for Passive Hope
True hope is not passive. Peter understood this. The Christians he addressed in Asia were clinging to hope in the midst of hard times. They were suffering physical persecution (1 Peter 4:1). They were facing strong temptations to which they had fallen prey in the past (vv. 2, 3). Their neighbors were engaged in “reckless, wild living” and were heaping abuse on them (v. 4). It seemed like the “end of all things” was upon them (v. 7).
But their hope was in the God of glory,
power, and grace through whom they believed they would live eternally. Peter called them to an active hope. “Therefore be alert and of sober mind so you can pray” (v. 7). They were instructed to love each other deeply, to offer hospitality to each other, and to use their spiritual gifts to serve others (vv. 8-11). The key to overcoming doubt and discouragement was actively living out faith, hope, and love!
Serving Christ in Hope
The same is true for Christ-followers living in these last days. Our hope is living and sure and it must be active. We are to serve Christ actively until he returns. As my husband and I discovered, before we know it we will find ourselves in a whirlwind on the other side of eternity
(2 Peter 3:10-13)!
Joni Wood is a reading teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina. She and her husband, Mike, are cofounders of Finding Hope Ministry (www.findinghopesite.com), a ministry of encouragement for troubled marriages. They have two married children and two “grandpuppies.”