Read This Week: 2 Thessalonians 1
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches, we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result, you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. – 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 NIV
Suffering is an inevitable part of life and the human condition that we naturally want to avoid. Yet, it is through suffering that we often grow the deepest, discover the most about ourselves, and solidify our mettle. If we are humble and teachable, hard times can produce character and build into our fabric the qualities of endurance, faith, and resilience. These are all positive and vitalizing outcomes gifted to us through pain.
In the Bible, suffering is seemingly always tied to spiritual growth and that is what Paul is saying to the Thessalonians. He wants them to understand that suffering is a normal part of the Christian life and that God sees them as worthy to endure it. God makes us worthy through the gospel to walk through trials and supplies the resilience we need to keep going.
People who are resilient live by their call to follow God amid their suffering. They believe that the Lord will take care of them no matter the circumstances. They don’t steer from the path and are resolute in surviving the onslaught of problems that arise in life. Paul also tells us in Philippians 1:6 that the call on our lives is initiated by God and will be carried out and completed according to his will. It is God who initiates the call and He will finish what he started. We can trust that and allow it to gives us the resolve we need to keep going.
Paul is not naive about the situation in 2 Thessalonians 1. He knew of their suffering but it wasn’t because they were complaining about it. It was because of the testimony of their resilience. Resilient people are never complainers or whiners. They shed tears over tough things, but it doesn’t stop them. We may cry over what is breaking our heart, yet still, be considered resilient. Sorrow does not imply surrender. Sometimes life becomes overwhelming to the point that it provokes a variety of emotional expressions but none of those expressions have to involve giving up.
The Psalmist often wept over his own plight and various troubles but he always ended such rants with steadfastness and praise to God. A resilient person’s eyes may well up with tears but their hearts are filled with courage and their mouths with admiration for the strength God gives. Think about this the next time you are going through a storm, resilience equals crying as much as you need to while staying the course.
A resilient life is one that is not only aware of trials and suffering but understands that the hard times are an indicator of belonging to God’s kingdom and life with Him. Resilient people stay true to their calling through all the seasons of life, crying some along the way but never, ever quitting. That type of life and those type of people are worthy.
This chapter is very relevant with the world we live in. I connect with the sentence, “We can cry over what is breaking our hearts, yet still, be considered resilient”. Our peers, especially at a young age, view crying as a weakness. I believe having this message engrained in one’s mind can certainly make sadness and grief much more difficult. Not only the act of shedding a tear, but also holding in a great amount of pain can deteriorate one’s mental state. Everyone should have the mindset of pushing through without the fear of judgement through this natural expression of grief. Through God’s love, it is only a matter of time until our pain is washed away. It may stick with us longer than we wish, but knowing His purpose for our trials leads to the strength we need in the future.
I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Brecken. I agree that emotion, especially when it comes to expressing grief and hurt, can be seen as weakness and that is unfortunate. Being able to show emotion is actually a sign of strength and emotional health. It reveals a person’s emotional agility and as you said, it is unnatural and even detrimental for someone to suppress that.
Spiritually, it isn’t a sign that one doesn’t trust God, in fact, it can be a way a person pursues God in a time of need and seeks him as the source of strength. It reminds me of that song, “Cry to Jesus” because he hears and has the power and capacity to respond to our deepest needs like no one else.
Thank you for this vulnerable insight. More people in your generation need to hear what you shared.
One thing that I am definitely sure of, everyone has issues. If you don’t think you have issues, check your pulse, you may be dead. Having issues is part of the human condition. How you face them is a choice. You can do it with God or without Him, it’s up to you. I will testify based on experience, it’s much better to do it with God. Jesus once told me “it’s better when we do it together.”
Life’s challenges are meant to bring you closer to God, make you stronger, wiser and give you a testimony. I want to encourage you, to lean in and trust the process that God has for you. It’s a wild ride sometimes, becoming the best version of yourself. This is one of the ways God perfects you and fulfills the desires of your heart.
Cool song: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XFT0zoKQWaM&feature=youtu.be
I agree, Ken and think that is what Paul is trying to convey in 2 Thessalonians. He wants them to “trust the process” and realize that suffering is a normal part of the Christian life and with God, they are worthy of it and equipped for it.
There is no respect of persons when it comes to suffering. Everyone goes through it, but the key is trusting God during the process and having faith in His desired outcome. That’s the difficult part.
But if we can be resilient and persevere through His perfect process, then we can benefit from His results in our lives. Outcomes like wisdom, knowledge, patience, humility, and peace. I know I need God’s help to trust Him and his design for my hardships and suffering.
It is so true Pastor Ken. We all have our troubles in life,ritch,or poor. And we think they are so big that there is no hope for us. But if we turn to our Father in those time’s and we just trust in him with everything in us. And we as Christian’s we know that he will show his love and break those big problems up. And make them so small in our lives and take care of them one at a time. And before we know it they will all go away. Or seem so small that we don’t worries about them because. We trust in Him and know they will just go away. I have learned over the years with Pastor Heidi and you that if we can’t fix it. Let Him fix it it works out Everytime. If you try it on you own with out Him it just gets worse. Thank you God for all you have done in my life
In 2 Thessalonians 1 verse 6, God is saying to me that if I remain patient in the face of being persecuted, the people doing the persecuting will be handled by God. He will fight our battles for us. Vengeance is his, not ours. We should be kind to our enemies as well as our friends.
“Remaining patient in the face of persecution.” That is a profound line from your comment, Jeri and one that, in our own power, is so difficult to do. Human nature just seems to demand immediate retaliation and justice when we are wronged, talked about, mistreated or persecuted in any way. We want those people to feel what we are feeling and for that to happen today. But, as you said, God is the judge and the One who has the authority and credibility to take action or have vengeance. This is a hard but important lesson for us to know and learn in life. It can save us so much heartache, anxiety, stress, and even physical health if we would learn to let it go and leave other people and their actions in God’s capable and just hands.
Any time this subject is mentioned, I think of Nehemiah and his patience, faith, and resilience to stay the course and to keep trusting and doing what God called him to in spite of the persecution, accusations, and taunts of his enemies and detractors. He and the early Christians in Thessalonica are a tremendous example for us all in trusting God and his timing in such matters.
This is a good point Jeri. Often times it is difficult to love those enemies the way God loves each of us. I believe it really comes down to one thing: trust. Without trust in the Lord, we take battles into our own hands. Without this trust, we dig ourselves into a deeper hole by trying to fix what is broken. It is such a difficult task to sit back and be patient. But just like Mark 12:31 states, “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
As I was thinking today, I really got an answer from God about difficulties in life. He wants me to just turn it over to Him. In the Spirit’s power, if someone happens to see me as weak, that’s okay because I know I am strong in my faith in God.
Sam, that is a simple but profound point and very philosophical. When people look at you, they may see what appears to be a weakness, but in reality, it is immeasurable strength because your life is placed in the hands of the most Supreme Being and He is in control. The weakness seen in the world is actually the strength the world needs most.
At our meetings last night and today with the family of God, verse 2 Thessalonians 1:4 kept coming up. When God shows us a section of scripture, we may want to pay attention to it. He will usually speak to us through it, so it is super important and valuable to listen to Him, which is not always easy to do with all of the distractions in life.
As I focused on the Scripture and God, I got that we all have to go through things in life. However, the key to success is going through them with God, standing firm and trusting God rather than focusing on the problem, getting upset and trying to fix it. Every time I’ve relied on my own understanding rushed in and tried to fix things, they got worse. I have learned through the pain of experience, to turn to God for instructions, wait upon the Lord for directions and do it with Jesus and not just on my own. It has been a lesson hard learned for me because my tendency has always been to take charge, make it happen, be the fixer.
Thank you, God that you make things so much easier as I learn to partner with you on everything and deferring to you in everything. I now realize that you use life’s issues to prove and perfect me. Read James 1:2-4. Actually, you may want to read all of James 1.
When you are going through the battle, this is a great song to listen to: https://youtu.be/YBl84oZxnJ4
Please reply and let me know if this ministered to you. Thanks.
I relate to this at a high level, Ken. I lose my place and constantly want to take control of my life and play the role that is best reserved for God and his lordship. I agree that it has never worked out when I run ahead and try to use my own wisdom and understanding in a situation. I really like this James MacDonald quote on the subject:
“I’ve never one time in my life, trusted God and regretted it. But I could fill pages with stories of the times when I’ve doubted God and made bad choices. God has never let me down.”
Turning to God during hard times provides the Peace that we need to recognize the blessing associated with it. Hard times are the true test of faith and when we trust in God to navigate the murky waters of difficult times, they become easier to work with.
One thing that God spoke with me about in prayer is the analogy of the road – “What makes a vehicle move? The friction that is created between the road and wheels. Without friction the vehicle will remain in the same complacent spot that it’s always been. Without growth there isn’t purpose.”
This means that friction in our lives is given to us to promote our growth with spirituality and ourselves as a whole. When we have God to hold our hand through the friction, then we benefit by growing with full understanding and peace.
Thank you for the comment and insight, Javaid. Welcome back to A Week in the Life! I always appreciate your contributions to these important life topics. I love the analogy of the road and the word picture of friction and tension enabling movement and forward progression. It is so true to life and hard times. The friction created by suffering is both necessary and valuable to a deeper, richer and more purposeful life.
All one has to do is take a little more than a cursory look at the Scriptures to see that suffering is indelibly linked to spiritual growth. And if the person is teachable, their life greatly benefits from the hard times and challenges. It is so prevalent in the Bible and it is relevant for today. We need friction to grow and move forward.
I agree Javaid. Another verse that popped into my mind was James 1:12. It states, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him”. God tells us we are supposed to be tested in this life. We need to gain wisdom through hard times and have lessons we can bless others with in their own lives.
In 2 Thessalonians 1, I love that Paul is praying that the people will respond to God calling them; that God would count them worthy of their calling. He is hoping that they would see their purpose is trusting and relying on God for everything and then to continue to grow and be thankful.
The most important thing in life is to always remember how much God loves you! He knows what it’s going to take to help you to grow more and more. So, we should be thankful that He chose us, the ones who responded to Him when He called us into this wonderful relationship with Him.
I am so thankful for the people He put into my life to love on and for the ones who love on me.
We are God’s family and He loves it when we listen and respond to Him for everything. Paul is so thankful that the people are responding to God’s love, and he sees that they’re continuing to grow in their faith and their love for one another.
I feel God is saying, “All it takes is you spending time with me. You can ask Me anything and I am here for you. I’m thankful for all you do for the Family!” So please be willing to learn, grow and teach what is right and good and help people know Me. Be willing to learn how to put others first and help them to know Me better and better.
For more reading on this, check out John 17.
It is encouraging to read in this passage and see where the Thessalonians are becoming known in the region and everywhere Paul goes as the community that has great faith, perseveres in trials and loves one another. That sounds like an unbelievable place to be and community to be a part of. I want in on that and certainly, want it to be true of me as you said in your comment. Thank you for highlighting that portion of the Scripture, Heidi.
During the week I got a lot of good things. I did write a song.
Lean on me
Leaning on you leaning on you Lord Giving you the glory
Glory in your name Jesus WE are thankful thankful
thankful we have you Your goodness Goodness we want
to shine in you Shine in you Lord Leaning on you Leaning
on you Lord Becoming your light your light your light in the darkness
We stand for our God ,Jesus and the Holy Spirit
In his Goodness peace and his Love. Being
his Light in the Dark… Amen
Thank you for the song Alma. That’s so much better when we lean on God.
I love to hear what God is saying to you about the song too. It’s wonderful hearing God through you
2nd Thessalonians chapter 1 verse 12.
God is saying to you and me.
this shows great reverence for the name of the Lord Jesus. By grace are you saved. Salvation is for whosoever will. God loved us while we were yet in sin. He sent Jesus as our savior. He must be made Lord of our life for the things we have been talking about to be. It is Christ in me, the hope of glory.
What that means to me.
The name of our Lord Jesus is glorified when we are Christian in the true sense of the word. We as Christians are followers of and believers in the Lord Jesus. We become christ-like, if we make him Lord of our lives.
When you say that it reminds me of Jesus telling us that we are in Him and He is in us. That’s the glory of God in us and shining through us. What a wonderful life we have in Jesus.
As I read through this chapter this week, the main thing that came to mind was we need patience and faith through all persecutions and tribulations. God was saying to me as I read this was “in order to get a strong and growing faith do all you can and then do a little more and keep doing this. Where suffering is combined with righteous endurance, my work is done.The fires you go through will purify you bringing forth something precious and pure. I am righteous and will repay evil for evil Vengeance is mine to take, not yours. Everything is important in your life and I see it all. During the trials you go through, I will give you rest. I have given you a high calling. The calling is that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you and you in him. Who you are in Jesus is more important than who you are in anything else.”
What this meant to me, was as long as we are alive, we should continue to grow and learn in our Christian walk. As long as we are on this earth, God is never done with us. He will use any of the trials that we go through for good if we are open to really looking for this good. God is not punishing us, he is refining us. I am so blessed to be his daughter.
When God spoke to you about the fires you go through, it make me think of something God said to me in church today: “As you go through things with Me,” God says, “you learn to trust Me and the next time, it is easier to trust me.”
I heard God saying to me and you right now, “will you learn to trust Me, I am trustworthy and will not let you down.”
Thank you God, that we can always count on You!
Pastor Ken thank you! I love what he was saying to you and for me. I love how when we trust him for something he shows up and answers in such an amazing way!
Today as I was sitting outside. I had an unbelievable experience with my father God. I was just asking Him about my life with Him. And my mind went blank and my entire body went numb. And he said to me ” My son you have went through so much in your life. And you have turn your back on me so many times. But I was there for you. I have and always will be. Your have suffered so many great losses and troubles. But know I am always looking for you to just turn to me” and at that moment as always I felt His overwhelming pease and love. Just as in Thessalonians 2. The speak of his forgiveness and his love and His peace as long as you come before Him. And ask of his forgiveness. Thank you Jesus for all you have given me and all you give to others. It is my wish and prayer that others will have this moment and felling that I had with my Father today. Amen