During this time of crazy uncertainty and social distancing, it’s easy to feel sort of scattered, isn’t it? Not even sort of scattered, but completely, totally scattered.
Right now, we’re physically scattered all over the place. I just think about all the people I love seeing on a regular basis—close friends, coworkers, the barista at my favorite coffee shop—I can’t physically be with any of these people right now. We’re scattered.
But even more so, we’re scattered emotionally and spiritually. Things that were completely certain, even just a few weeks ago—our jobs, finances, good health, schedules, the economy—feel so very uncertain.
And for some of us more than others, our worlds have just turned completely upside down. It’s so easy to feel scattered right now.
But even though all these feelings are completely real and valid, I want to give you some encouragement today. And more than me, I truly believe God has a message of encouragement he wants to share with us in this season.
We’re gonna start by looking at the words from a guy named Peter. And just to share a little about Peter: he was a fisherman who met Jesus, and he was determined to be the best follower of Jesus there ever was. He wanted to be the greatest. Well, unfortunately for Peter he was human, and when it mattered most Peter denied even knowing Jesus three times.
Thankfully though, Jesus wasn’t done with Peter. Even though Peter denied him, even though he was so imperfect, Jesus made it clear to Peter that he still loved him. Jesus made it clear that God wanted to use Peter to spread the name of Jesus like few would.
Pretty awesome, right?
Now that we have a little background, back to that encouragement.
Peter writes, “Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see” (1 Peter 1:3-5 NLT).
Peter’s telling this group of people, I know you’re scattered and things are so uncertain for you, but we live with great expectation because of Jesus and what he has for us. It can’t be touched, and it doesn’t change.
For us, here at two promises of encouragement we can cling to today and throughout this scattered season:
1. The world might crumble, but it can’t touch this.
Can’t touch this … MC Hammer, anyone?
But seriously though, the world around us might crumble.
Our savings account might crumble. Our retirement. Our job. Our health. The dreams we had for this year.
Like never before, it feels possible that the world actually might crumble, but just to say it, God has something just as specific and just as real that can’t be touched!
I want to remind us about who God is.
He is a God who takes care of us. He’s all powerful. He’s good. We can trust him.
Like seriously, looking back at your life, how has God shown up and provided for you? How has he come through?
Even if the world does crumble, we can live with great expectation because Jesus—what he brings us—can’t be touched.
2. We need fire to make pure gold.
Going back to Peter, look at what he says next, “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 gold” (1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT).
Peter is telling us that he knows we’re scattered. He knows the world around us is crumbling, but we can have joy! Why? Because during this time, just like a fire testing gold—it might be hard, it might even hurt—but we need fire to make pure gold.
You’ve maybe heard this before, but how is gold made pure?
It’s heated. It’s heated by a fire, and in doing so the impurities rise to the top, the crud comes to the surface, and it’s skimmed off, making the gold pure.
We need fire to make pure gold.
During this strange time maybe your “control freak-ness” is rising to the top.
Maybe it’s becoming really clear that you’ve been putting your trust in money and your job.
Maybe it’s coming out that you say you love Jesus, but you love a bunch of other things a lot more.
Maybe you’re having hard conversations that you’ve been putting off.
Maybe fear, anger, or worry are rising to the surface in you.
God is testing and refining you to clear the crud out.
For all of us, God can use even what we’re walking through right now to test and refine us. God didn’t cause this, but he can definitely use it. He can use this time to show you that even though the world might crumble, it can’t touch Jesus, and that we often need fire to make pure gold in our lives.
What are you holding on to today? Let’s hold on to these promises of encouragement, and together we’ll make it through this even stronger than before.