Will 2017 be a ‘Happy New Year’? Because the world’s mood seems to be darkening! In late December, you might have noticed that in many year-in-review TV shows and newspaper articles and blog posts that people thought that 2016 was pretty tough. There were wars, terrorism, Brexit, Trump, the Australian Senate was clogged, the housing market and economy started to look wobbly, and 2017… looks uncertain.
But the book of First Peter, which our 8:30 and 10:15 congregations are exploring over January, reminds us of how we can indeed be full of joy, no matter what comes in 2017.
Like gold being refined in a smelter, Peter tells us that suffering and trials test and purify our Christian faith. This is because like fire in the smelter, suffering burns away the dross of our false hopes in this present world (1:6-7). And as our hope in our future salvation though Christ is purified, then our hearts are increasingly ‘filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy’ (1:8-9). And this joy of Christ is a resilient joy that will stand firm, no matter what the new year brings.
So rest your hopes more and more on the living hope of Christ’s salvation, and have a Happy New Year!