A certain phrase that crops up now and again, between my coworker and I.
We’ll be pushing papers through the scanner, a trifle mindlessly since that’s what we’ve been doing daily for months now. The internet will choke on itself again. (Tedious jobs are not so bad. Tedious jobs in slow-motion are painful.)
So as we wait for our work to save, we talk. And this phrase comes up.
“You’ve never ridden an ATV on the highway??” She’ll exclaim, “then you haven’t lived.”
Or, “You’ve never smuggled food into a theatre? You’ve never lived!”
Something about this phrase sets me on needles. As soon as she says it, images of my own life flash through my mind and I would like to retort defensively – “So, you’ve never caught flying termites, or hiked through a forest, or had a pet monkey? You’ve never lived.”
Then as I read 1 Peter, God joins the office conversation.
God: “If you desire life, if you desire to love and to see good days – keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. You must turn away from evil and do good. You must seek peace and pursue it.”
Hm. That’s quite different. Quite different. This “full life” is not bound into one culture, one location, or one social status. No matter how boring one’s job, or how cramped the life, he could always seek these things.
Earlier, Peter wrote, “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”
No matter how bleak life looks now, if I am in Christ I have a guaranteed life in him that will be completely mine one day…soon. The blessing is here. The blessing is coming. So when you, or I, go through daily life choosing to speak a blessing, it is like poking a needle or a crochet hook through the hole of some drab surface, to gently hook and pull through the bright thread on the other side. You could snag the bright blues, yellows, rose pinks of your coming glory in Christ; pull them into a world of tired people, disappointed hopers, hurt lovers, deceived thinkers, depressed tryers.
Maybe I shouldn’t have replied defensively to my coworker. I could have blessed her with my words. “May you truly live a full life.”
There are universes of theology tucked into this nutshell of a phrase: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Christ in you is God’s eyes and ears always towards you because you are righteous. Christ in you is the full life. Christ in you is the power to hook threads of heaven down into your exact moment in time.
Peter is writing to people who have lost everything for Christ. Homes, land, families. They are in exile. But still, they have hope, “though you have not seen him, you love him. And though you do not see him now, but believe in him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
Trials distress you but they are only purifying the gold of your faith – they are only ushering you into true life, full life.
Like dawn ripening in your own heart, this hope is warming, is growing in you.
This world can take everything. But it cannot take that golden kernel of hope. Christ in you, the hope of glory. And the army of bored workers and tired saints can pick up this song: we do not see him, but we love him. We have not yet seen him, but we believe in him.
And belief and love run together into a river of joy and glory.
So I wake up this morning to another morning at a gray desk, with 8 hours of inputting data into spreadsheets ahead of me. It is certainly not a bad job. But it’s a bit bland. How exactly does glory run wild here?
Keep your tongue from deceit. Be a blessing. Obedience opens the doors of love…. does it?
I suppose there’s only one way to find out…