ENCOURAGEMENT: Eternal Encouragement

Eternal Encouragement
Posted on December 17, 2014  in Blog, Encouragement
As a pastor there is the constant privilege of having windows into the lives of many different people.  Over the course of a week, or even of a day, you can traverse mountains of joy and valleys of sorrow through the circumstances and experiences of individual lives.  Yesterday was one of those days for me and before my head hit the pillow last night I was reminded of these words from 2 Thessalonians 2:16:
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
Those are rich, powerful ways to pray in the face of any trial.  They would have brought great hope to the church at Thessalonica as they faced persecution.  They can bring hope to us as well.  Two words in particular stood out to me yesterday:
eternal comfort.
Having just reminded the readers of his letter in verse 13 that God chose them as the firstfruits to be saved from eternity past, he now considers the present with a view to an eternal future.
What this means is that God has not only given us comfort enough to face our next doctor’s appointment, the loneliness of the Christmas season, that minor or major surgery we have scheduled, the sufferings of someone we love, hardship for taking a stand for truth, uncertainty over what we should do next, or the meltdown of a relationship; our Father has given us eternal comfort that enables us to quietly and patiently endure any and every circumstance.
And this with good hope.
Hope in the love of God shown to us in the gospel.  Hope of the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus.  Hope of being more than conquerors.  Hope that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Hope that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.  Hope that Christ will build His church.  Hope that does not put us to shame.
This steadies our hearts, which in turn steadies our hands, enabling us to press on in serving God and making Christ known, especially at this time of the year.  God’s comfort is not going anywhere for the Christian.  You can count on it.  Not just today.  Not just tomorrow.  But forever.
 
photo credit: Chaiwat, freedigitalphotos.net

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