That's the Book: 2nd Thessalonians
I spent the weekend at a work conference. We were out at the beautiful Skamania Lodge. During one of the breaks a friend of mine talked me into doing the arial course. I bought a t-shirt because I couldn’t see myself dangling up in the sky between trees in work attire.
As I signed the lengthy waiver I noticed the government license and inspection which were prominently displayed in the office. Nice.
The first step in the process was putting the gear. I synched and paid attention. Tightened my helmet.
We went through the training course which was down on the ground. Practiced clipping on and off.
My trust was not in myself. I know myself. Slightly uncoordinated, out of shape, not terribly aware of my own surroundings. Good chance if left to my own devices I'd fall and break my head.
I did trust the equipment. The government inspection. The trainer. The people who came off the course just as I was going in. They all looked like they survived and were even smiling. I trusted the clips and wires. And those big beautiful trees. I trusted the trees to do what trees do. Stay put.
You see the sermon here right? My trust is not in myself. My fear is not in the wind or the height or gravity. Because my trust in the trainers and the trees was greater than the fear.
The view was fantastic up top of the world. The perspective changed.
2nd Thessalonians is a short book. Just three chapters. A quick reminder to the people Paul had already spent great time with and had written previously. The book has two main points;
1. To commend the people for their faith and perserverence. They had already proven by their track record that faith in Christ was a wise move.
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 1:4-5
2. To tell them to hold on in tough times because their faith in Christ to hold them would prove stronger than their fear of their future. It's not that there is nothing to be afraid of. It's just that God is stronger. He stays put.
With this is mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:11
I certainly had reason to fear climbing up in the trees and dangling a hundred feet up on just a wire. But the harness, the credibility of the company, the evidence of other participants and the structure of the trees bore more weight than my fear.
Same thing with faith. The future does hold uncertainty. There are people and movements opposed who would seek the downfall of a believer. But Christ is more certain. And this is the message Paul sends to those believers at Thesanolica.
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2: 15-16
It's the same message I send to you. Yes. The future is scary. Yes. There will be painful things to come.
And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 3:2-5
Pray, and watch those ahead of you who have persevered. And remember clearly where God has proven in your life to hold you steady and upright. He is certain to catch you if you fall. So go ahead. Enjoy the view.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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