“The Grace of Resignation”
In I Peter 5:6-7, the apostle gives us profound, practical truths as we face fear and uncertainty:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
First and foremost, we’re called to humble ourselves before God. Often, we fail to see how pride is at work in our lives. We rightly associate it with boasting and rebellion against God, but Peter associates it in v.7 with anxiety in the face of what God is bringing to pass. Often, it’s anxiety that reveals a prideful heart. We are, perhaps without realizing it, attaching more importance to our plans, to what we will do, and not considering what God is doing through our trials. This is pride.
What then does humility look like? Above all, it means we don’t stop doing the things we were doing before trouble began. We begin our day with prayer. We meditate on Scripture and resolve each day to obey what God commands. And, as often as we see temptation leading us to sin, we humble ourselves through repentance.
But Peter gives us a second truth that directly relates to humility. He reminds us that it’s the powerful hand of God that controls our circumstances. As we heard in last Sunday’s sermon, God uses pestilence to accomplish His perfect and holy will. You and I have the privilege of being part of that plan.
Over the last month, we’ve all shared in the same challenging circumstances. Whether you have been infected by the coronavirus, have lost financial security, or find yourself wondering when life will return to normal, we’ve all come to see how little we actually control. The good news in this passage is that God’s hand is mighty. There is no person, circumstance, or affliction He’s not able to deliver us from.
Civil War general “Stonewall” Jackson knew this truth very well. When asked how he could behave so bravely in battle, he responded:
“My religious beliefs teach me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself with that, but to be always ready whenever it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and all men would be equally brave.”
Finally, as you humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, remember what Peter says of God in v.7: “He cares for you”. So often we forget that God’s power, by which He rules and upholds the world, is directed for our good. Even today, as you encounter difficulty, don’t forget that God cares for you. Humble yourself by thanking God that what He’s brought upon this world will result in His goodness to us. It will add people to His kingdom—that kingdom above all kingdoms. It will result in God’s praise and, “at the proper time,” in our exaltation.