As the persecution not only persisted but increased for the Church in Thessalonica, Paul wrote this second letter to comfort and encourage them. He exhorted them that in spite of all the hardship they were currently enduring, they needed to continue their good works…which evidenced their faith. For fundamentally, good works and faith go hand and hand to show not only who a person is but how they are to behave. Later in this letter, Paul used the motivating statement, “Stand firm!” Right now, that statement is something all Believers need to hear. Stand firm in the face of fear and anxiety. Stand firm in the face of danger and trouble. Stand firm in the face of hardship and tribulation. For our Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (II Thessalonians 3:3)
Jairus was the president of the Jewish synagogue in Capernaum and a very distraught father. He had watched as life ebbed out of his beloved little daughter. Nothing they did had made any difference, and now he felt she was beyond human help. So in desperation, Jairus ran to find Jesus. No longer full of pompous formality, ego, or pride, he was sprinting to find the only person he believed could change his daughter’s hopeless condition. It says he threw himself down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come and lay hands on her…”so she will be healed and live.” What faith came from this unlikely man who had nothing left but to put his trust in Jesus.
What does hope look like to you? In the simplest of terms it means a promise for the future. For without hope, life is just a bleak and discouraging journey as we wait for the end. So where can we find this hope? The Psalms are full of hope so to speak…for we’re told that hope can be found in God. (Psalm 42:5) It’s also found in God’s Word. (Psalm 130:5) Psalm 9:18 reminds us this hope from God will never perish, and that we have this precious hope as an anchor for our lives in times of trouble. (Hebrews 6:19) Do you need some hope today? May the God of hope fill you with hopeful expectation as you look to Him.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of holding on for the day. Holding on to our courage and the hope of which we boast, (Hebrews 3:6) and remaining steady in our sense of confidence that God is truly in control of the chaos around us. And as long as we can affirm to ourselves His goodness and love…we can hold on for another day.
Sometimes it’s because of serious illness or loss…sometimes it’s the result of circumstances way beyond our control…but regardless, we can find ourselves without hope. There standing before us is no bright promise for things to come…only the bleak darkness of the here and now. But God’s intent…His plan and purpose for each one of us, is to give us hope and a future with Him. For God’s Will is only about doing good…His plans are perfect, His purpose for us, only the very best. So in place of our hopelessness, God promises joy… and in place of fear, He promises peace.
The whole of mankind hoped with eager anticipation…awaiting the promise of the fulfillment of the coming Messiah…only to watch Him die a terrible and horrific death on the Cross. The day after that shocking event, the human soul was holding its breath…struggling to remember the words of Jesus while despair tried to crowd out any shred of hope. Human life hung in the balance between hope and hopelessness that fateful day. But God is the God of hope, (Romans 15:13) and we have this hope as an anchor. (Hebrews 6:19) So if today, you’re facing the impossible, the incurable, the irreversible…put your hope in God and fix your eyes on Him. For if God can raise Jesus from the dead, He can breathe life into your sick, dying body, revive a struggling marriage, or break the chains of addiction off a loved one. For as long as there is hope, there’s life.
You will not be able to go through this world without receiving bad news…for loved ones die, accidents happen, and cancer rears its ugly head. So it’s not if bad news will happen, but rather when it will hit us without warning. It’s at that moment we have to make a conscious decision…who and what will I trust in. Will I take this news that’s causing me pain and unhappiness and allow it to control every part of me…or will I stand firm in the confidence of knowing God is in complete control of the situation? Leaning on the Lord is not a sign of weakness…relying on Him for strength and peace is not copping out from reality. Bad news will affect us all…but if our trust is in the Lord, we have the certainty of His firm foundation of love and hope under-girding our shaking bodies.
You can’t have faith without hope…and hope without faith…they go hand and hand together. When shattered human emotions come to the point of hopelessness, there’s nothing left but disillusionment and a broken spirit. But if we have faith, we are lifted up and supported…encouraged and assured that God is there. Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He Who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” The Lord is always there to comfort the brokenhearted and grief-stricken. For faith will give way to hope…and hope will usher in faith.
The deepest abyss a human can know is to be without hope…and separated from God. For the unbeliever, all hope ends at death…there is nothing else to cling to. And fear manages to erode away at what little time they do have here on earth. Without hope there is only dread and despair…without God there is only emptiness.
This verse deals with the real cause and effect of negative emotions. If we constantly provoke a child, they will soon start to feel disheartened, with low self confidence…which can lead to feelings of hopelessness, indifference, and defeat. Negative emotions can and will only produce more negative emotions in others.