hope and encouragement

You’re going to need some hope and encouragement. Life will get you down. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” is not enough to help you through the scary and dark times. There’s a lot that will take away your hope, sucking it out of you, but what gives you hope? Where can you go for encouragement today, when everything around you is grief and hopelessness?

The Thessalonians were scared. Their loved ones had died; what would become of them? Had Jesus abandoned them? Was it all over after death? Could there be any hope after death? Paul wrote to encourage them in his first letter to them, chapter 4: “Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” The culture of the day was ignorant, grieving, and hopeless, but the Christians were to be something different and distinct. They had a firm future focused on Christ to look forward to. There was good news to be had: Jesus died and rose and was coming back to fix everything broken! That will get you through the hard times! Death is not the end for the Christian, but only “falling asleep.” The Christian will “wake up,” to new life with Him. These are true and historical events, not a dream or fiction or mystical enlightenment. Jesus will return personally, bodily, and in glory; He won’t break His promise. And He will meet us. There is always hope because you will always be with your Lord, if you are in Christ. This is your strong confidence.

Hope is a nebulous thing, like trying to herd cats. Hope is hard to find, difficult to maintain, and easy to lose. It exists in something outside yourself, and something real. Someone real. Jesus is Paul’s hope, and he writes to the Thessalonians, “He should be your hope.” And He should be our hope. Will you be meeting Him when He returns? Will you know Him? Will He know you? Trust and hope in Him today. You can lean on Him today and be encouraged in this hope tomorrow.