So as I walk through the two letters from Paul to the Church in Thessalonica, I thought I'd pause and share some of my thoughts in writing. I often wander away from any series I tend to start on my blog/journal as I don't like to keep God in a box, but I think sometimes it's also important to finish an idea that I start. So in an attempt to finish said idea, I had a few things that I thought I'd share this week from his letters ...
This is Day 2: Click for day(s): 1, 2, 3
But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you—for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God1 Thessalonians 3:6-9 ESV
Paul, in distress and affliction, was comforted. Yet he was not comforted by worldly relief in gaining freedom, mercy from Rome, or even accolades and friendship. He was comforted in simply knowing others were strong in their faith. Knowing and seeing God in them brought comfort to Him. Knowing they had a relationship with God was immeasurably more important than their relationship with him. He could not care much less about what they thought of him, but if they held their faith in God, this is what brought him deep comfort.
What about us? Do we reflect this attitude? Are we so shaped by Christ that we draw comfort by simply seeing Him working in others around us?
It reminded me of a recent and very simple example.
A few days ago I visited a new (to me), trendy, young and lively coffee house. The friendly barista behind the counter that made my drink wore a beautiful symbol of our faith around his neck that displayed his identity in Christ. Amidst the busy day, and things that perhaps didn't go exactly as planned the hours before, this simply display should bring me comfort. Perhaps leave me with a sigh as I remember where and Who I stand on to refocus my day.
Matt, it's some dude wearing a cross, stop getting too dramatic.
No, it's not just some dude wearing a cross, it's a reminder for when we feel like Elijah in 1 Kings 19, feeling so alone, that there are a host of others that stand firm to Him and follow the promise declared on Calvary.
It was finished ... and yet It also just began.
May we draw comfort, even in our trials, from others around us that cleave to Him as a sign of His promise. Not every day will be a mountaintop experience, and frankly, so few days if any will be. But let us draw our comfort from the right sources and not from things that ... well ... don't last.