Minute in the Word
“Look Up to Heaven and Look Forward to Eternity”
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
(2 Thessalonians 1.5–10 ESV)
Throughout scripture we find a recurring theme that teaches us to look for the positive as we endure the trials of life and persecution by those who are opposed to Christ. Suffering has a way of strengthening our trust and dependence on God. It also has a way of bringing Christians together, building endurance and deepening our relationships with each other. The persecution the Thessalonians received was unrelenting. During their darkest moments, they would need to be reminded that suffering and persecution have a way of shifting our focus from being inwardly directed to one that looks up to God and looks forward to eternity. As we look up to God, we move in trust that one day everyone will stand before Him and give an account of the deeds of this life. On that day, every wrong will be made right. On that day, those who have rebelled against God will be punished. On that day, evil will become a thing of the past. When you face times of suffering or persecution, know that God is with you. Look for ways that your experience can enhance your trust in God. And, reach out with a helping hand to encourage others around you that are going through rough times. Together, we can help each other go home to heaven.