I read a devotion this week by Sheridan Voysey entitled, Death Row Joy. The author tells the story of Anthony Ray Hinton who was charged with the murders of two restaurant managers. It was a set-up because Anthony Ray was miles away when the crimes were committed but he was sentenced to death. At the trial, he forgave all those who had lied about him. Life on death row was hard because every time the lights flickered, he was reminded of what lay ahead. He passed a lie detector test but the results were ignored. In 2015, on Good Friday, his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court. His life is a testament to the reality of God. Because of his faith, Anthony Ray had hope beyond his trials. (I Peter 1:3-5) Anthony said, “This hope that I have couldn’t be taken away in prison.” Such joy proved his faith to be genuine. (vs. 7-8)
We are facing hard times with the coronavirus. A first read of I Peter 1:3-9 may seem like Peter is telling the people reading this letter that they should rejoice because of their suffering. As we look closer at this text, we see where Peter wanted the readers to rejoice that their sufferings would result in “praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (vs.7) Peter is telling us that through our faith would be proven genuine and genuine faith will result in salvation.
We need to have the faith of Anthony Ray Hinton as we face this pandemic. We need to have genuine faith and this genuine faith in Jesus will sustain us through our ordeal.
Prayer – God of all hope, fill us with your joy and peace as we trust in You.
I Peter 1:8 – Though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
Author: Tommy Herndon