Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8 (NIV).
This is an underrated verse. Maybe it should be more widely discussed, more widely known. Peter was writing it to people he knew in and around the Mediterranean who had come to faith after Jesus had ascended to heaven. They never knew Jesus personally, as a man, as Peter had. Yet they believed in Jesus anyway, gave Him their faith and their love unconditionally. They believed in Jesus without seeing Him in person.
You and I: we can almost certainly identify with that.
Having said it, I know of people who claim to have met Jesus. It wasn’t meeting Him as a human, yet He spoke to them all the same. I know people who know, deep inside of themselves, that they have met Jesus in their greatest moments of both need and peace. I know people in my close circle of family and friends who will tell you they have encountered Jesus and that He changed their lives, even saved them from certain death.
In a way, I’m jealous. It isn’t covetous jealousy. Instead, it’s the kind of longing that wishes I could have an experience like they did. They’ve had experiences I don’t fully understand and I want to understand them. Perhaps, in God’s good time while in this life, I will. Until then, this is good enough. I can love Jesus the same for times when it matters most.
Five years ago, I held my mother’s hand when she died. Nothing momentous occurred to delineate her passing from this life to the next; there were no earthquakes or flashes of light or miraculous occurrences. On a typical Friday morning, one minute she was breathing and her heart was slowly beating; the next she wasn’t. I was in shock that it was even happening, yet I was also at peace. In her last moments of lucidity, Mom said her goodbyes to all of us in the room, and understood that she was dying. And she was at peace with it. All her life she had believed in Jesus, even as she almost regularly intellectually questioned so much about Him. In that moment when she died, that belief mattered most because Jesus was there, on the other side of the heartbeat, waiting to return her love. She loved Him and believed in Him, and lived a life full of inexpressible joy. All her questions were answered simply in meeting Christ.
Just like they will be for us. I identify with not having yet met Christ man to man, but I know He’s real, and that He is who He said He is, and that I believe in Him. Knowing all that, I’m content to simply follow Him.
For further reading: John 20:29, 1 Peter 1:9
Lord Jesus, I believe in You.