We drafted this post prior to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Brionna Taylor, and George Floyd—and the subsequent protests around the country calling for an end to racial injustice. If you want to learn more about how Pastor J.D. and the Summit are responding to issues of race and injustice, (1) Consult our Commission for Oneness and Reconciliation, and (2) Join us this weekend, when our worship gatherings will center on race, justice, reconciliation, and the gospel. We hope the following post, while not borne out of current events, nevertheless enriches and encourages you.  

–Chris Pappalardo, Editor

In his first letter to the church members scattered in exile, Peter urges believers to set our hope exclusively on what God has promised to us as our internal inheritance: that we will know Christ, be like Christ, and one day get to be with Christ in a place where there is no more pain and all sad things come untrue.

He says set your hope completely on those promises. Yet Christians water down their hope by setting their mind on other things God needs to provide for them to be happy. They’re glad to know Christ, be like Christ, and have the promise to be with him one day.

But.

They also really need him to provide them with good health. And a great marriage. And good kids. And lots of money.

Then, when God doesn’t come through on one of those things, they accuse him of letting them down.

What has to happen in your life for you to feel like God loves you and is keeping his promise to you?

There are a lot of things I want God to provide for me. I want him to give me health. And success in my job. Yes, even financial prosperity. And since God is a good Father, he may very well give me many of those things.

But my hope is not there. My hope is in knowing Christ, being like Christ, and being with Christ. So if in God’s plan I do without some of those things or I suffer, I will be satisfied. My hope is in who God is for me and what he is doing in me.

We love to quote Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV). But few of us know the following verse and what that purpose is. Paul says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.”

To know Christ. To be like Christ. That’s how all things are working together for good.

You can pray and ask God to bless you and take care of you now. But never put your hope there. Instead, put your hope in knowing Christ, being like Christ, and being with Christ. And if, in a particular season, that is all he gives you, be satisfied with those good gifts.