“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” 1 Peter 4:12

I was reading in 1 Peter this morning and in the verse mentioned, Peter speaks to the people as “beloved”. We don’t hear this word spoken much anymore except once in a while during a wedding ceremony. In fact, I was so moved by the word that I did a little research on it. I found out that it is a term of affectionate endearment common to both Testaments; in the Old Testament found, 26 out of 42 times, in Solomon's Song of Love.  In the New Testament, "beloved" used exclusively of Divine and Christian love, an affection begotten in the community of the new spiritual life in Christ, e.g. "beloved in the Lord". And what an expression of endearment! Of all the things we could be called or call someone else, for that matter, there is just nothing quite like “beloved”. To me, Peter is telling us our Heavenly Father is proclaiming His love for us. He is announcing we are chosen, singled out, favored, and called by Him. I have to admit I can hardly grasp the meaning of the word.

When you continue reading, you realize Peter had a reason and a purpose for drawing attention to this truth. The purpose? Trials. Fiery trials. Peter’s word came to the early church at a time when they really needed encouragement and reassurance that God had not forgotten them. Don’t we need this today? Things happen to us all that don’t seem to make any sense. We experience pressure from all around us. Pressure to succeed, to be a good parent, to be a good spouse, to be better at loving others, etc. Pressures can rise to the point where doubt rears its ugly head and before long takes hold. Satan jumps right in with an alluring bait that makes things seem better, telling us, “Go ahead, just do it. Take a load off, you need relief.” That way looks sweet but always has a bitter end.

God in turn, counters the enemy’s lies with, “You are mine, and you are beloved.” Just like any good loving father, He draws us in to Himself. As a believer, whatever our situation, we need to remember one thing: God desires a close relationship with us. Intimacy with our Father strengthens our faith, changes our focus, and renews our hope. We don’t have to wait until trials come. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need even before we do. All we have to do is draw close to Him because we are beloved. All of us adopted into God’s family through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ are beloved by the Father.

Scripture mentions beloved in both the Old and New Testaments and there are different meanings in both.  Some other references are:

Psalm 60:5- “That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.”

Matthew 12:18- “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.”

Romans 1:7- “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:”

Linda Jackson is a White County resident. She contributes monthly to The Sun Times. You can reach Linda at lrockwell1954@gmail.com