Great things always start small. This is what Jesus reminded us of when He compared faith to a mustard seed. St. Peter, here too, reminds us that humility is one of the things that faith looks like.
True, this letter was one reminding us as baptized Christians that we should not be surprised when we face trials and suffering in this life because of our faith. 1 Peter 4:12-19 calls upon us to see that as a sign that we are indeed Christian people and to rejoice when we suffer for ‘doing good’ – doing things according to Scripture – as Peter here writes. At the same time, he point out that God’s love in Christ is bigger than any of our worries, calling on us to humbly place all our anxieties and hurts onto the crucified Jesus and so to find rest for our bodies and souls.
I know it sounds easy – we often tell people to do the same. And yet, when it comes to actually doing this, we have a tendency to try to hold onto something – just something – within ourselves to try to either justify our hurt, or we cave under the pressure. It’s tough – especially in our present Canadian context where it is not popular to be a Bible believing Christian. And yet, as Peter likewise said (John 6:67-69), Jesus alone has the words of eternal life – and what could be more precious.
Learning to look to Jesus in all circumstances is a challenge – a blessed one to be sure – but a challenge nonetheless as we wrestle through the weakness of our human nature. This call to humility is an invitation for us to step ‘out of ourselves’ and ‘back into faith’ as we turn our attention away from our self-styled ways of living so that we simple ‘trust’ (that’s what faith means in the original Greek) His care and guidance for our lives so that – no matter the circumstances, we stay rooted in the very source of our life and being – in the Triune God – all through our incarnate Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s no wonder that St. Augustine once said that the marks of faith are humility, humility, humility. May the Holy Spirit grant us that in our own time. Amen.