The Candle of Hope/Thursday-December 7

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 (NASB95)

Eternal comfort and good hope – a blessed combination, a dynamic duo, fraternal twins of spiritual blessing! The Apostle Paul penned two letters to the Thessalonian believers to commend them for their faith, encourage them in their walk and instruct them regarding things to come. This short prayer is sandwiched between a description of things to come and his final words of exhortation. Honestly, that’s pretty much right where we live.

Our salvation not only seals our eternal destiny, it also promises hope for today. Life often comes at you fast and it often feels like someone has just cut you off at the knees. You know what I’m talking about and you don’t need a Nationwide commercial for illustration! What happens when you get that diagnosis? When the text comes that says your friend’s son took his own life? When the money runs out faster than the month? When the questions outweigh the answers? When the love just isn’t there any more? When the grass looks greener on the other side? When the police ring your doorbell at 3:00 in the morning? When yet another shooting hits the news?

Where is good hope then? You know what I mean, the hope that makes a difference in the here and now, not the eternal comfort of the there and then. Good hope IS our greatest gift in the midst of life’s trials and tragedies. Good hope that is based on a solid foundation reminds us that our God is in control. He isn’t surprised by those things that rock our world.

Ultimately, the enemy is on God’s short leash and must have permission for any sifting or attack he sends our way. God is not a super-sized one of us that we can understand His thoughts and ways. He is a totally separate Other and we must trust Him. Because of His great love and mercy, He has committed Himself to the promise of all things working out for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We aren’t called to understand; we are called to trust.

It’s impossible to make sense of so many things that headline the daily news but God has not been nor ever will be shaken or taken from His throne. It is in those hard times that we must cling to the hard truths we most likely don’t understand. It is then that we realize that good hope prepares us for eternal comfort.

Living It Out – Today is the fifth day of Advent. Write down five truths you know about God and support them with verses from the Bible. Do this in such a way that you can find it when trouble strikes. Hope is our life line!

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