Though it took him a while to understand and believe it, Peter ultimately realized that Jesus came to save everyone, including pagan Gentiles. So greatly did his thinking shift that he became pastor to the church in Rome. In fact, when he wrote the book of 1 Peter, he was sitting in a Roman prison cell — in chains for his faith and concerned about the ongoing persecution of his flock at the hands of the evil emperor Nero. Fabled in history and known as one of the most volatile and violent rulers ever to have lived, Nero had it out for Christians. Though rumor has it that he burned down a large portion of the city himself because he wanted to build a giant swimming pool, he decided to blame believers instead. Calling the church a cult and claiming that they were atheists because they didn’t believe in him as “god,” he killed thousands of them in sheer brutality. Such a horrible massacre must have been gut-wrenching for Peter to watch, because as their overseer and shepherd, he felt a responsibility to protect and encourage them. And 1 Peter, his initial letter to his flock, was an effort to do just that. By reminding his precious congregation that they were living stones whose souls were being constructed into something much greater than the sum of their parts, he gave them — and all of us — a gift. By declaring timeless eternal truths, he invites us to remember that regardless of how chaotic or uncertain things become around us, our story is not written at the will and whim of any human being. Our days are determined by God alone, and nothing takes Him by surprise.
My friend, the pain of loss is horrible, and the uncertainty of a shifting world is troubling, but when human fragility is weighing on you heavily, remember that you are imperishable! Your Savior is the author and perfecter of your faith, and His eternal hope is your inheritance and destiny. No matter how difficult circumstances become, nothing can pluck you from His Hand, and no force can alter the duration or the impact of the days ordained for you. His perfect plan for your future will prevail, and He will be close to you in the middle of every setback and discouragement you face. With God, you are immovable and inexorable, and because He reigns in you, earthly obstacles only serve to make your spirit stronger!