Prepared for troubles
Since I started writing about 1 Thessalonians, I’ve used the word ‘hardship’ quite a lot. Hardship and suffering was a reality in the lives of these new Christians. And we have said often: If you are serious about the things of God, there will be hard times ahead.
Things don’t always go well. There will be times that you will feel like giving up. Times when you’ll want to get off the bus, because it will be too hard. That is why Paul again gives this confirmation to the people of Thessalonica: 3Not that the troubles should come as any surprise to you. You’ve always known that we’re in for this kind of thing. It’s part of our calling. When we were with you, we made it quite clear that there was trouble ahead.
It’s part of the deal when you believe in God. You will have to carry your cross, like Jesus. So, if you understand that there will be hard times ahead, you can prepare for it, can’t you? How mature we are as Christians becomes clear when we don’t get a fright every time things are hard, and we don’t throw our toys out of the cot.
In a way we should expect trouble, and then when it appears, we must meet it head on and deal with it purposefully and positively. But a lot of hardship initially looks too difficult to handle, and that is when we need to hold onto our faith in God, knowing and believing that we will get through it with his help. Such an attitude does not remove the initial fright and hurt, but just puts you on the road to recovery so much quicker.
Actually, we should be prepared for the troubles ahead, so that when it comes knocking, we can say that we are ready to deal with it.
The reality is that one remains scared of hardship and it is never easy, no matter how well prepared you are. Most of the time when trouble comes, we kick against it and most probably ask: Why God? Why me, Lord? But God is with you, even amidst the troubles and hardship.
It is important not to miss the opportunity for growth in every hard time. We grow stronger in hard times and by tackling the steep uphill. Don’t let the opportunity go by because you’re too busy trying to find out why you’re suffering hardship again. Sometimes some questions will remain unanswered so that you can learn and grow.
There will be hard times. It’s part of the package, but with the Holy Spirit’s help the negative can be turned into a positive.
Ps. Little did I know that a couple of hours after writing this devotional a friend would be calling me to bury his four-month-old baby who had died the previous evening. They have a 12-year-old daughter and after four miscarriages, they had given up hope of ever having another baby.
What a surprise it was to discover she was pregnant. Two sonars showed Elizabeth was on her way, but at birth Christiaan arrived. The baby they had been praying for so long. Their excitement knew no bounds!
And four months later Christiaan was being buried …
May the troubles and hardship in your life never steal your faith …
Can you face the hardship ahead?
Where do you hurt?
How strong is your faith?
Father, You say in your Word that the just will never waver. Please help me, Lord, not to shake when things get tough. Amen.