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Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., explains what believers need to remember as they go through tough times.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. (2 Thessalonians 2:16–17)
Today’s big question: how do we endure during difficult times?
As we have been studying in this devotional series, faith, love, and hope are all important and should be a staple in each believer’s life. Sadly, during difficult times, losing our focus is very easy—we must continue to have faith, love, and hope amidst trials.
In Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, He thanked God for their “work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope” (1 Thessalonians 1:2–4). However, 2 Thessalonians is different. Apparently, many of the believers thought they had missed out on Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 2:1–2). Although Paul commended them for what they were doing right, you may notice that one of the three is missing. Read the following passage, and see if you can determine which one:
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure. (2 Thessalonians 1:3–4)
You probably noticed the absence of “hope” in this passage. Paul commended them for their faith and love, but hope was not mentioned. One of the reasons Paul’s wrote his second letter was to encourage his readers to continue to do the things they were doing right in the midst of persecution. Moreover, he also reminded them in 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 to be comforted by our Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father—the giver of our hope.
If we lose sight of the hope we have in God, we will easily become discouraged. This is why it is important to continually pray and read our Bibles throughout the good and bad times—to help us remember “the God of hope” who can “fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Seeing with our eyes instead of our hearts and minds is very easy to do while going through hard times. What we hope for is not seen as Paul reminds us in the following passage:
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:24–25)
Today’s big idea: only the God of hope can give us true peace and joy.
What to pray: thank God for the hope He has given us.