2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 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.
This is a beautiful and important word of blessing. Just as in the 1st Century, believers today encounter all sorts of opposition and difficulty. Some of it looks different and some of it is remarkably similar, but the source is always the same. We have an enemy who is out to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) The reason the Lord doesn’t wipe him out right now is that in learning to stand against him we are transformed into the likeness of the Lord Himself, (2 Corinthians 3:18) strengthened and matured in every way. Some of that, indeed a lot of it, isn’t much fun at the time, but the results are glorious. (Hebrews 12:11) That’s why Paul speaks here of being comforted. As we receive God’s comfort, we are then able to do good works and speak good words, that is, His works and words. I keep coming back to the reality that nothing from God is ever for just the direct recipient; everything flows through us for multiplied blessings. That is certainly true when He comforts us, just as Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) When we receive any sort of blessing we are strengthened and enlarged to be better able to help others. God is the source of every good gift, (James 1:17) but we have the privilege of being conduits for those gifts to flow to many, for their blessing and God’s glory.
This is certainly close to home. Cathy is facing major back surgery at a hospital 90 minutes away, which will require a 2-month hospitalization. That is a daunting prospect! She is an integral part of not only my daily life, or even of this church, but of a great deal that goes on in this city. This will give a lot of people opportunity for growth that they perhaps don’t want! I need to be focused on the reality that God desires blessing for us, and that His plans are always good, for us and for everyone connected to us, whether we even know who they are or not.
Father, thank You for this Word this morning. I needed it! Help us walk in this assurance day by day and moment by moment, not only for the next two months but as long as You keep us in this world, so that all of Your plans may be fulfilled on Your schedule, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!