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. [2 thessalonians 2:16-17]
this short letter by paul to the church in thessalonica was an encouragement to stand firm in their faith, work hard, and keep on doing good. because of the amazing growth they were experiencing in their faith and in their love for each other, the enemy was hard at work. they were experiencing trials, persecution, and false teaching.
he sums up chapter 2 with a blessing, and by reorienting their minds to the hope we have in Christ Jesus. through Christ, and through God’s grace toward us, we inherit an eternity with our Creator and Father. through Christ’s death on the cross, we have eternal comfort, knowing that our struggles in this world will pass away, our struggles against our own sin will pass away, our desire to be the own lord of our life will pass away, and we will be in PERFECT harmony with God. we are promised God himself. WHAT COMFORT! WHAT HOPE! this is our destination. but he doesn’t just dangle the destination like a carrot, he also provides the fuel to reach it. we don’t have to wait to receive the promise of God himself. he is gracious, and we get him now. in this life, through trial, temptation, persecution, confusion, sin, repentance, sadness, joy, brokenness, he is here. and because he promises never to leave us (hebrews 13:5, deuteronomy 31:6, isaiah 41:10), we have a taste of heaven even now.
so what is our comfort in this life? our comfort is the presence of God. he is comfort. he is hope. in life, the struggle is real. one day can be filled with happiness, the next with gut wrenching pain, because sin is ever present in the world. but Jesus says in john 16:33, “take heart, for i have overcome the world.” we can tap into the eternal comfort we are promised in Jesus, knowing that the comfort is eternal, and this world is not. he has overcome. so how do we tap into this eternal comfort? by tapping into Jesus. where do we find Jesus? lots of places! drink up his word–find him. immerse yourself in prayer–find him. surround yourself with brothers and sisters in Christ who point you to him–find him. ask the Father to open your eyes to who He is. (matthew 7:7, ephesians 2:18) ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom to read His word. (1 corinthians 2:12-13) ask Jesus to break down your walls of pride that keep other believers at arms length. (hebrews 10:25) we have access to comfort in Christ Jesus, because we have access to Christ Jesus himself. so let us press on to know the Lord! (hosea 6:3)
when we find Christ through his word, he will establish our hearts in the word. it will supernaturally become part of our thoughts, desires, motivations, conversations, and our actions. it will fuel our journey, along with the comfort of the presence of God, to our eternal destination. God’s word does not return to him void. (isaiah 55:11) it needs to be the center of our day!
Father, what a hope we have in your promises. what a hope we have in your presence. what grace we see in your comfort. what victory we see in your forgiveness! establish me in your word. give me wisdom to see you in every page. show me my pride, and rid me of my rebellion. give me passion for your glory, that i might never grow weary of doing good. God, we want more of you. we need it. we must have it. we know you will be faithful to give it. thank you for your faithfulness. amen.
~ arwen eastman