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How Good We’ve Got it!

April 5, 2020

One of the reasons I am praying for international travel to open back up after this season of COVID19 is so that short-term mission trips can resume.
Typically, folks who go on these trips — to majority-world places in Asia (e.g., India or Nepal), Africa, Latin America and elsewhere — are exposed to extreme poverty. Shanty towns, refugee camps, barrios, and squatter camps are seen all around the world. And after North Americans visit these places — and the people who live there — they often return with humility and gratitude for the blessings we experience in North America. They often say to those at home, “You don’t know how good you’ve got it!”
Knowing how good you’ve got it, is different than counting your blessings. When you count your blessings, you do so from the perspective of your own experiences, expectations and culture.
But when you remove yourself completely from your circumstances — your home, your access to food, your mobility, your freedoms of speech and of religion — those blessings seem to grow and multiply.
In the first nine verses of 1 Peter, we learn to count our blessings. We see God’s great mercy. We see new birth and a living hope. We see an undefiled inheritance, protection over salvation, and eternal security. Counting, counting, counting.
But in verses 9 through 12, Peter invites us to step out of 21st century mindset and consider how blessed we are to have even more revelation than did the prophets of old, or the angels. He asks us to consider how good we’ve got it.
And so these few verses are not poetic. They do not elicit an emotional response. They are historical. Almost academic.
But when understood in terms of coming to know how good we’ve got it from a historical view, they become the climax of the first twelve verses of 1 Peter. They are the 1812 Overture — complete with metaphical cannons and cathedral bells — of the first chapter of this letter.

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