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)
Ok, can we all admit to ourselves that the past months of dealing with COVID 19 and the pandemic have been downright hard! It’s been difficult being isolated from family and friends. It’s been scary listening to the dire warnings and daily statistics of positive cases and deaths. Brother, it’s even been apprehensive just going to the grocery store! That’s why when I read the above verse this morning it brought me back to a basic foundational truth…our God is the Father of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles… (II Corinthians 1:3) So even when I’m not at my best, He’s there to comfort me with the Holy Spirit…and like Isaiah 40:29-31 tells me, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Being a Christian does not mean we are immune to difficulties, hardships, or afflictions…that’s because we live in a broken world. And Job realized this…that troubles would come into his life. But Job also saw that he could never take God’s blessings for granted. So today, let’s all take a moment to count our blessings both great and small. If all your family and friends are healthy and safe…thank Him. If you have enough food to eat, a roof over your head, and clothing to wear…thank Him. Jesus did not promise that our life here on earth would be void of suffering, quite the opposite. For He tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” That’s because He’s the God of all comfort Who comforts us in the midst of all our troubles. (II Corinthians 1:4) So today let’s thank Him for the many blessings we’ve received.
Right now in these uncertain and troubling times, we are all looking for comfort. Looking for encouragement, hope, and reassurance to displace the fear and apprehension we’re feeling and witnessing around us. Chapter 40 of Isaiah starts out with this verse, telling us that God is there to give us strength and hope…that His word stands forever (verse 8) and ends with these powerful words, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” (verses 29-30) Our comfort will be found in God and God alone…for in Him we will find hope and strength for another day.
In God, we have a good, good Father. A heavenly Father that wants only the very best for His children. So as Followers of Christ, we too should affirm the good in others. For if we have willingly and freely accepted the Lord’s invitation of salvation into our lives…we need to live out to the best of our ability His example. For there’s enough negativity already in the world today…but Believers can change that by simply seeing and affirming the good in others.
Take a moment to re-read the scripture above and allow it to sink in. If God is for you…what can possibly oppose you? If the Lord is over you, coming to your defense, protecting you, helping and comforting you in times of trouble…what evil can stand before Him? Isaiah 41:10 states, “So do not fear, for I am with you…I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” God is greater than any of your fears today…and greater than the evil in this world.
If there are young people in your house, you probably either formally, or informally have House Rules. Principles that help maintain order, routine, and guidance for everyone within the household. The same goes for the Body of Christ. This House Rule – If it cries…love it, takes it context from II Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” He is the God of all comfort…extending mercy, love and encouragement to us in our times of crisis and pain. And in that, we learn how to pattern and demonstrate that same love to others.