I saw it again on a bumper sticker some time ago: “The worst day fishing is better than the best day at work.” I used to think that was a cool little saying until I went fishing one day and a blinding snowstorm came up. I ended up soaking wet, putting metal chains on the tires of a truck and trying to pull a boat out of the water in several inches of snow and ice. I’ve had better days at work!
But Peter reminds of a similar truth: our worst day with Jesus is better than the best day that anyone outside of Christ will ever have.
Peter and those believers to whom he wrote his first letter were experiencing great political and social hardship, far beyond what we are facing now. This letter was written around the time when Jerusalem was being besieged and eventually fell to the Roman general Titus. The Jews and the Christians were watching their world fall apart. They were embarking on a period of terrible persecution and suffering and Peter addresses this suffering in this letter. But he doesn’t address it from a defeatist or fearful angle – rather, Peter’s letter is a boast of victory!
Peter’s words to them are also God’s words to us. He reminds us we are not defined by our past or bound by the things going on in the world around us. We have been chosen by the Father; we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. We are being sanctified and changed by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Difficult times do not mean that God is not in control. Listen to the absolute victory in Peter’s words, “…he has given us new birth into a living hope… an inheritance that can never perish… kept in heaven for you who through faith are shielded by God’s power.”
In fact, Peter says that these trials do not crush us, but rather they make us better. They refine us like gold. They burn out impurities. They reveal Jesus Christ in us. They help us to see him in ways we have not seen him up to this point. They produce “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”
Peter even says the prophets of old and even the angels in heaven would love to experience what we have in Jesus Christ! Our worst day is better than the best day anyone outside of Christ will ever have. This is because of who Jesus is, and because we belong to him.