Hope is not only for the young

After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.

We attended a wedding this weekend. This was not the typical wedding of two young people with a life full of possibilities before them. This was a wedding of two mature adults, both parents of adult children. The majority of attendees were of the same generation or older. Many of the younger adults were either children of the couple, their spouses or their friends. There was also something unusual about the context for this wedding—it was a marriage between two previously married adults who were free to remarry in the eyes of God. They were a widow and a widower.

The bride and groom had both suffered the tragic loss of their spouse to cancer. Neither was seeking a relationship. Despite attending the same church, they had not met before. In God’s perfect timing, their paths crossed at church. A friendship began and developed. Then, over one summer, there was no contact. The pastor described this as a period of silence and discernment in the relationship. Both sought God’s will in prayer. Contact resumed. You know the happy ending—we were there yesterday at the wedding.

One of the Scripture passages that was read at the service, and about which the pastor preached, was from 1 Peter 5. The Scripture was anointed for this wedding.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The bold passage was a divine message of hope for those who attended the service. First, there is the promise that after great tragedy, God restores His people. The word “restore” in this translation comes from a Greek word katartízō, the sense of which is to mend (what has been broken or rent), or to repair. Second, we are reminded that the foundation for these promises is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The word “establish” here comes from the Greek word “themelióō,” which is the same word used by Jesus is preaching about the house that had been built (established) upon the rock in Matthew 7:25.

This wedding was a testimony to these promises of Scripture. A Christian man and woman, living a life of prayer and desire to follow God’s will, having built their spiritual house on the rock that is Christ, are brought to healing and wholeness after great tragedy and loss through their love of God and each other, confirmed in the sight of God by vows of marriage.

As I prayed about the wedding this morning, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that there is another message hidden here: hope is not only for the young. No matter where you are in life, no matter what travails and sufferings you have endured, life remains. As another friend reminded us this weekend, God spoke to her and said, “I am a God of life.”

Where there is life, there is hope.

Where there is life, there is still time for God to touch us, heal us, deliver us and use us to build His Kingdom.

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and seek His will. Have great confidence and hope that He will confirm you, restore you, and exalt you. We have His Word on it. Glory to God, the God of life!

Congratulations Susan and John. May your marriage continue to be a blessing and witness to those around you.

Eric A. Welter is an employment lawyer and trial attorney with a long-time devotion to intercessory prayer. He is a Catholic Christian who has been involved with intercessory and healing prayer ministry for over twenty years. The Abound in Hope Ministry website is https://www.aboundinhope.org/ministry. Listen to more from Eric: Power Tools for Prayer: Mary, Help Of Christians