2 Thessalonians 1:4 “Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you.”
Observation: In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian church, he addressed the reality of persecution and suffering. He expressed thanksgiving because their faith was being enlarged through it and joy that their love for one another grew even greater as a result of suffering (2 Thess. 1:3). Then comes the affirmation of verse 4: he speaks proudly of them to other churches for their perseverance and faith in the midst of persecutions. In verse 5, He says these trials are a clear indication of God’s righteous judgment in their lives for the purpose of making them “worthy of thekingdom ofGod.” Lesson over. Any questions?
Application: Well, yes, maybe a few. “First of all, does everyone who loves God have to go through trials?” Yes. Next question. “Well, if that’s the case, when can I get relief? How will I know it’s over?” Verse 7 promises that relief will come when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire. “Oh great! That’s got to be years from now, maybe decades!” Oh really?
You who know so much, hasn’t the Lord told us three key things about timing in these matters: (1) that no man can know His timing; (2) that we are to live in the expectation that His coming could be in the next moment; and (3) when it happens, it will be instantaneous, in the twinkling of an eye? “Hmm, so you’re saying I need to persevere, to not lose heart, to not give up. So how will I know whether I have passed the test?”
Oh, you’ll know, beloved. There will come a moment when my heart will have a flash of understanding, when it will be grateful for the testing, when every fiber of my being will see clearly God’s purposes in my testing. In that instant, the pain of trials will fade and all that will matter is to love Jesus, no matter my circumstances. From that moment forward where that particular trial is concerned, the name of the Lord Jesus will be glorified in me, and I will be glorified in Him, according to the grace of God. He wants above all else to fulfill my heart’s cry for intimacy with Him, and trials are how He does that.
“Hmm, one last question, then. I got a little nervous a moment ago when you referred to “this ‘particular’ trial. Are you saying there will be others?” Oh silly child. Dear, silly child. See question and answer #1 above.
Prayer: Father God, there will indeed be troubles yet ahead, won’t there? I’m just so thankful that You have overcome the world. Thank You that I can identify with Christ not just in the power of His resurrection, but in His suffering, as well. Thank You for all You are doing to prepare me for the wedding celebration yet to come.