The Christian’s hope is a steel taproot in the soul. Some hardships are simply embedded in the crust of life in a fallen world. These are difficulties shared by all mankind — sickness, disappointment, civil injustice, personal cruelties, death — which drive us all to the only anchor strong enough to hold us.
Beyond these, Christians often face peculiar hardships, difficulties caused by the very hope we cling to in those difficulties. The world rewards hope in Christ with persecutions, insults, reviling, resentment, dismissal, and sometimes even death itself. Nevertheless, though the Christian’s hope may itself be the very cause of hardships, this does not bring the root to disgrace — rather, it proves its strength all the more.
This glorious spectacle — hope which sustains through trials brought on even by the hope itself — looks peculiar to a world filled with roots which cannot withstand even everyday trials. This is why Peter tells all Christians to be ready to answer “anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Be ready, because the world requires an explanation for the spectacle of Christian hope.
The humanly inexplicable firmness of the Christian’s hope is not only the deepest comfort in trials, but a strong testimony to a world filled with weak and rotting roots.
Look at the Book is John Piper’s latest effort to help teach people to read the Bible for themselves. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher.
As part of this initiative, Desiring God is putting on regional events focused on certain passages of Scripture. This is Part 8 in a series on 1 Peter called “Hoping, Singing, and Loving in the Refiner’s Fire.” More parts will be released in the coming weeks.