Joy inexpressible

Adam and Eve could have experienced joy inexpressible but the only route to such joy is faith. Joy comes through trust. So their faith was tested. Would they trust God, no matter what reason they were given for not trusting him?

Years later, Peter talked of the same thing, that joy comes through faith, 1 Peter 1:8-9. We are filled with “an inexpressible and glorious joy,” he writes, “for you are receiving the goal of your faith.” That’s where joy comes from. We trust, and because we trust, we’re receiving what we’re trusting God for, and when that happens it gives us joy beyond words.

So that’s why our faith is tested, just as Adam and Eve’s faith was tested. Do I believe without flinching, for instance, that I’m being “shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time,” verse 5? Do I trust that God will get me through this life to the glorious life beyond? Because “In this you greatly rejoice,” verse 6. I experience joy when I have that kind of faith, when I know with absolute certainty that my life is safe in God’s hands all the way to eternity, no matter what’s happening in my life at the moment.

Joy comes from such certainty. So we’re tested through “grief in all kinds of trials,” because testing proves our certainty. And on that point, a lady phoned me recently in deep distress. She was so weak she could hardly stand, but resting only filled her lungs up and she couldn’t breathe. She hated hospitals because of previous bad experiences, but she couldn’t look after herself. What should she do? So I asked her, “Do you believe you are safe in God’s hands, no matter what’s happening to you?” “Yes,” she said. “Then call an ambulance, go to the hospital and trust him,” I said. I imagine her reaction was, “Oh no, does it have to be that?” Yes it does because it proves her certainty that she’s “shielded by God’s power” even in a dreaded hospital! Is she certain? Because joy comes with certainty.

And here was the chance to experience what she was trusting God for – the “salvation of her soul,” verse 9. Joy comes from receiving the goal of our faith. And what is the goal of our faith? The certainty that our soul, our entire being, is safe in God’s hands in every circumstance in this life all the way to eternity. Where does such certainty come from? From being chucked into situations beyond our control and preference and trusting God – no matter what reason we’re given for not trusting him.

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