THE BLESSED HOPE
“The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
There are many ways we can have hope in this life. But, of course, we know that we all go through trials of many kinds. Difficulties will visit us. They will also happen to our friends, neighbors and families.
Just this morning I received an email from a student who is struggling to complete the degree program she began several years ago. She related that her father, who was her encouragement to work toward the degree, had died and that she had totally given up. She had also gone through a divorce and so felt unworthy to continue studying. Plus, she has had to work several jobs to survive. That is a lot of discouragement and loss of hope.
Letters like hers are not uncommon. I receive those messages frequently. And all are from people who know Jesus Christ as Lord. They are studying to know Him and His Word more fully. Even so, people who love the Lord and serve Him experience difficult times.
Through every circumstance, however, as God’s children, we can know His joy and peace. We can experience His power and deliverance. We can feel His presence and give Him praise as He takes away every worry and care. During those times, and in all these situations, we can “know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
That is encouraging to know and understand. Yet there is a greater victory prepared for us. That victory is a “blessed hope”. The Apostle Paul describes, in Titus 2:13, the “blessed hope” that is coming for all believers at the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 for even more encouragement when trials come your way. This is the description of our Lord’s return to take believers to our eternal home. In that passage Paul describes the great moment when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout…the dead in Christ will rise,” and “we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Then all of us “shall always be with the Lord.” Always! And, the promise is that trials, sufferings, and such have no place in heaven. Paul wrote these words for our comfort in this life.
So, no matter what you’re going through, we can be encouraged. We can be filled with hope. If Jesus is your Savior, you can overcome whatever roadblocks life brings you. Fear is conquered when our trust is in His promises. And the greatest promise is that you will spend eternity with Him in a perfect environment.
Take time to thank God for the blessed hope we have because of the saving power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Gary K. Fair
30 December 2020