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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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 (NKJV)
Have you ever felt such deep pain that you were inconsolable? Maybe well meaning friends even tried to help you fight the tears with platitudes or prayers, but nothing helped. Finding hope in those times can seem impossible.
In this letter to the Thessalonians, Paul had just warned the early Christians about the last days. He told them that before it got better, it was going to get worse. This realization could have made them feel hopeless. It was already hard enough. The early church had endured much tribulation. How could they survive the harder road ahead? Yet, he didn’t leave them with this discouraging news. He prayed this beautiful petition to bring peace to their hearts.
In his prayer, he first reminds them, and consequently us, that we are loved by God. God’s love is perfect, and perfect love casts out fear. Knowing that we are loved by the very King of the universe is a powerful tool to bring our perspective back into alignment.
Next, Paul reminds us that we have been given eternal consolation. We are not promised an easy road during our time on this earth, but there will be a day when every tear will be wiped away. Sadness may last for the night, but joy is our eternal reward. And this brings us good hope through grace. None of us deserve this hope; it was graciously bestowed upon us by our Father who loves us.
And finally Paul prays that Jesus would comfort our hearts. In times of fear or deep sadness, oftentimes Jesus is the only One that can provide true consolation. He knows the purpose of our pain, and He has the power to heal our hearts. He knows whether we need truth, or whether we need someone to weep with us. And through His comfort we will be established in His good work.
DIG: Do you feel hopeless about an obstacle ahead?
DISCOVER: Have you spent time kneeling at the feet of Jesus, allowing Him to heal your wounds?
DISPLAY: Tell the Lord your fears and sadness, either in a journal or out loud in your prayer closet. Trust Him to give you hope through His grace