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Hang In There

Read This Week: 2 Thessalonians 2

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
– 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 NIV

Have you ever watched a sporting event where one team is getting beaten badly for the majority of the game and at some point, the momentum shifts and they begin an unbelievable comeback? Comebacks make for incredible stories, but there is one aspect of them that often goes unnoticed. The aspect of the people who leave the game too early and miss it. The people who don’t hang in there. The people who leave before it is over.

These scenarios also exist in life. Hanging in there at sporting events and in life seems to be a thing of the past. We exist in this emotional polarization. We scramble for the door when things are going bad because we’re deterred by the pain of struggle and we walk away when things are going well because we’re never satisfied. What lies in the middle of this manic tendency of departure are some good ballgames, moments of life and times with God that enrich, inform and even thrill.

Paul is teaching the value of hanging in there in 2 Thessalonians 2. He is concerned in verse 2 that the Thessalonians are getting “unsettled and alarmed” by negative things that are happening. He sees them losing confidence in the team and wavering in their stability as times are getting harder. Perhaps he could even sense that they might walk away or leave too early.

The Apostle is reflecting the truth about God and his work through the church to remove their confusion and fear that could cause them to walk away from their mission. He says, “stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” He is telling them and us to hold on to God’s word. Hold on to something timeless, stable and trustworthy when you’re not sure about the future or what’s going to happen. Hang in there. Don’t leave too soon.

If we hang in there with God, we might get to see something exciting on our journey. When we leave a game too early, we miss all the action, compelling drama, and excitement. We make flawed projections about how things are going to turn out and consequently forfeit all the enjoyment that could be just around the corner. 2 Thessalonians 2 describes the excitement of life with God as “sharing in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We often leave looking for the next adventure and pass by the greatest one that is right in front of us.

If we hang in there with God, we might actually learn something. If we’ll stay in some situations in life, we may learn valuable things about the heart of God, ourselves and others that could benefit us in the future. We might learn that we can tolerate an onslaught of challenges. We might discover that we can take advantage of opportunities to win even though our backs are against the wall. We can identify additional strengths and weaknesses and gain a little context for the rest of our lives. We might even learn to grow up.

If we hang in there with God, we will appreciate the good times more. Success can be a sinister thing. It is a tease that makes misleading promises that it will always be around. People that leave early during success are either fooled by it or they’ve yet to experience what it feels like to collapse. If we stick around for some hard-fought victories in life, we’ll have a greater appreciation for success when it is not there. Sticking it out has never failed in the instruction of how to maintain achievement over the long haul.

2 Thessalonians shows us the beauty of the gospel and how it is worth hanging in there for. It is the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world to die for hopeless sinners and through the gospel, God gives us overcoming power. Staying power in the face of long odds, opposition, false belief and the human tendency to leave too soon.

17 Comments

  1. Brecken on May 28, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    One aspect of life I have recently tried to improve on is patience. I feel this passage open up many messages about being patient not only with the end times but also living out each day. I’ve witnessed God’s timing coming in new waves, often being the perfect time for those experiences.

    In the past, I have noticed when my impatience has guided me toward some rough journeys through many aspects of life, whether it be through work or relationships. I wanted to change my tendency of rushing into things and causing stress that wore me down.

    During these past few months, the Lord has truly shown me the beauty of surrendering myself and allowing those waves to crash when planned. In verse 13, Paul explains the Holy Spirit working and belief in the truth are needed collectively. I believe it is best when the Spirit works on the Lord’s clock and I disregard the timing I wish for myself. Good things come to those who wait through Him.

    • Ken on May 28, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      I like how you said good things come to those who wait through Him. That’s so true. It’s all about waiting with God. He is growing us and perfecting us through the waiting process.

    • Jason on May 28, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      Brecken, I appreciate your comment and being vulnerable about your own journey with developing and implementing patience and waiting on God. I don’t think there is a person immune to wanting to run ahead of God’s timing or assert our own timeline on His plans. Your recognizance of it now in your life will serve you well.

      If you can, expound a little more on how you are practically learning patience. How has the Spirit helped you recently submit to God’s timing for your life? In other words, how has the Holy Spirit guided you to hang in there in these various scenarios that you referred to? Paul is addressing the instability of the Thessalonians in light of Christ’s coming but also in light of their current struggles. So, how is he helping you hang in there?

  2. Ken on May 28, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    For me, waiting goes against my grain. It seems like God often takes longer to act than I want Him to take. Even though I know He is building my trust in Him, even though I know He is always going to do something great, it seems hard sometimes to wait. Do you feel like this sometimes too?

    The good news is that when you wait upon the Lord, He renews your strength. “You shall mount up with wings as an eagle, you shall run and not get weary and you shall walk and not faint. Why strain and struggle, just put your trust in God.”

    I’ve found waiting on the Lord, it always the best. He gives you what you need to succeed, without all of the anxiety and stress.

    • Brecken on May 28, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      With the end of last year, I felt the time becoming more difficult to deal with. It took a lot of will power to sit back and let the events play out for me. I found it extremely difficult to resist that tendency of a temporary fix, personally and professionally.

      Instead, I forced myself to live with a longer period of discomfort than what I wanted my time table to look like. I agreed to allow God to work on His time even though it was rough. Fortunately, it led to many great long term opportunities in my personal and professional life.

      • Jason on May 29, 2019 at 9:01 am

        Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing that, Brecken. What you shared is relevant to everyone’s life no matter the age, background, or experience. This line illustrates the discipline, patience, and trust that we should have in our lives as we walk with God every day:

        “I forced myself to live with a longer period of discomfort than what I wanted my time table to look like. I agreed to allow God to work on His time even though it was rough.”

        To me, that is the essence of waiting and hanging in there with God. It is the crux of what Paul is saying to the Thessalonians. Comfort is not promised nor necessary really but waiting patiently on God’s ultimate redemption and on his plan in our lives is beneficial and rewarding.

        My struggle is in the day-to-day. I trust God with my eternal destiny but it is those decisions, choices, and relationships both personal and professional that I often fall short in the waiting. But if God is big enough and powerful enough and sovereign enough to save me, then He is worthy of trusting with how I operate on the daily.

        Your words brought Psalm 25:5 to mind: “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You, I wait all the day.” I want to wait all day on God. I want to hang in there because I know what He has for me is better than anything I can come up with. Thank you for your words, wisdom and insight, my friend.

        • Heidi on May 30, 2019 at 6:08 pm

          2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 says, “We ask our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father to help you. God loved us and gave us strong courage and a firm hope in grace. May he encourage you. And may he make you strong always to do and say what is good.”

          Living life every day with our Father God is the best! He knows everything you’re going through. As a child of God, He expects us to come to Him to get what we need from Him first. He wants us to seek His encouragement and strength. We cannot remain in our faith without the help of God.

          I love how Paul was asking God to help those who loved God and He loves them too!
          The Lord loves us so much and desires for us to spend time with Him, reading His Word and seeking Him. He wants us to listen and respond as He gives us instructions and guides us.

          As we seek Him, helps us in working everything out for our good and for the good of others too. So pray for other people to listen and respond to God. You’ll be blessed and others will also. God seems to be saying, “All you have to do is seek me, ask Me, trust Me, and follow Me. I already know the outcome so let’s do life together. I love you.”

          • Jason on May 31, 2019 at 5:19 pm

            Thank you for sharing that, Heidi. I love the promise in the Bible that if we will seek God earnestly, He will always be found by us. As I read your comment, I kept thinking of Matthew 7:7 in the New Living Translation where it says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

            I pray God will give us the strength as you said to “keep on asking and keep on seeking Him.” He will always be found and always deliver.



          • javaid ahmed on June 4, 2019 at 9:18 am

            I love this Heidi!



    • Jason on May 29, 2019 at 10:48 am

      “Why strain and struggle? Just put your trust in God.” That is such a practical but powerful line when it comes to hanging in there in life and waiting on God. That statement alone just seems to put one at ease. It’s almost as if the Lord is saying, “Why invite unnecessary stress and anxiety into your life? Trust me and live in peace and freedom.” Thank you for sharing that, Ken.

    • Javaid Ahmed on June 4, 2019 at 9:18 am

      This is very sound! Fighting tooth and nail up a river to the left, only to realize that the path was to the right, which was a downhill stream can be harrowing. Its like navigating fog without a lantern or GPS. God is our GPS and with our trust in God we can avoid the unnecessary uphill battle and relieve our anxieties but trusting Him where we find our stream.

  3. Ken on May 31, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Just thinking about how good God is to me and you. Thank you Lord for your goodness, kindness and patients. May I learn to be more like You. Your steadfast love never ceases, your mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.

    I’d like to challenge you to show grace and mercy, God’s unmerited favor to someone this weekend. Stand fast with God and with what He is telling you to say and do. It’s the right thing to do, be the peacemaker, represent God well, be the best version of yourself and showoff for God, just like He shows off for you. Hang in there, all things are possible with Jesus.

    Super cool, old school song 🙂

    https://youtu.be/EnOFh9WFe6k

  4. Sam Centers on May 31, 2019 at 11:18 am

    I love this chapter. It teaches us that we need to lean and trust in him every day with our hearts and minds. He is always working on the little things we think are so big in our life. He says, “Stay strong in your faith. Be steadfast.” He can handle all things that we can’t

    • Jason on May 31, 2019 at 5:25 pm

      I needed this chapter this week too, Sam. I needed to be reminded to hang in there and “be steadfast.” I appreciate you reinforcing that truth about God’s sovereignty and power over the big and small in our lives. I am glad He can handle all the things because sometimes, it feels like I can’t handle anything. I’m thankful for His provision, protection, and guidance and I know you are too. Have a great weekend!

  5. almaschmidt on June 1, 2019 at 12:31 am

    this week was a great chapter it has so many things.i did get a song .
    Our Father loves us loves us who gives
    everlasting life He comforts us he comfort us he strengthens our hearts
    and gives us hope through his grace and mercy gives us hope through
    his Grace and Mercy what an amazing Father an amazing Father who
    Loves us like no other who Loves us like no other giving us Everlasting
    life Everlasting life With Him Amen

    He truly Loves us and Helps us through everything Its all about us
    responding to Him Not to the Worldly Antichrist Ways. He has our backs.

    • Ken on June 1, 2019 at 10:42 am

      So happy that we get to enjoy this wonderful life with God and each other Alma. You are a true blessing to my life. I greatly appreciate you and your songs from God.

      His grace (unmarried favor) for you and me is amazing. Lord, please hep us to pay it forward and extend grace to others, even when we feel they don’t deserve it.

  6. Javaid Ahmed on June 4, 2019 at 9:15 am

    This is such a phenomenal passage, and nothing has rung more true. Something that Ken and I spoke about in the past was that God tends to wait until the very last minute and test our faith to its limits before we have the “break” we are looking for. This is the epitome of faith in my opinion. If it were easy to have un-tested faith, then there would be no purpose, but what God does for us is to test our “Spiritual muscle”. I like to think of it as weight lifting. You steadily increase your weight, your strength, and your ability to surpass previous milestones. This to me feels the same in faith, and with every time that we truly stick it out and trust fully in God, to be rewarded and see the victory we fought for, adds tremendous muscle and an increase to our faith.

    Sometimes its easy to get in our own way and think that we haven’t moved or have been overly patient, but then when we take a look internally and see the growth and how far we’ve actually come in life, it becomes apparent that we are simply getting stronger, and it is wonderful to thank God for that and embrace that victory in itself.

    When I pray and speak with God, a recurring message I get from Him is “Faith will always be rewarded”. God is AWESOME.

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