By Joanna Zeiner
Today's Scripture: 1 Peter 3:14-15
Central Thought: Even in the midst of despair, we can find hope in Jesus Christ.
Tears blurred the text of the email in my hand, but the words had already burned themselves into my heart, '[will you] please bring this listening ministry to Burundi, for our people die from lack of hope.” I could have understood it better had the letter read, 'Our people die from genocide, from tribal war, from AIDS, or from poverty.” But it said, 'from lack of hope.”
Only after I had walked their streets and heard their stories did I begin to sense the depth of hopelessness among the people. It wafted through homes, down streets, and through marketplaces like a putrid odor. Surviving years of emotional and physical trauma had shrouded the people's minds, leaving neither vision nor clarity of purpose—only deadly victimization.
Peter reminds the scattered believers in first-century Israel that true spiritual worship would bring them back to their spiritual center. He must have remembered a time when the waves broke so violently around him that he could only see despair. But he re-focused his vision to the One walking beside him, who ruled the waves and who alone could save him. Peter could speak hope into despair because he, himself, had walked on water with Jesus.
Devotional Prayer: My Father, I live so often in the surface of my life where the waves of pain and heartache thrash in violent waves around me. I look to You in worship; I honor You as the center of my peace. May the deep, still waters of Your peace bring me safely home.
Today's Bible Reading: Daniel 1:1-2:23; 1 Peter 3:8-4:6; Psalm 119:65-80; Proverbs 28:14