Wednesday: December 4     

1 Thessalonians 2:13-20

We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.

As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you–in person, not in heart–we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again–but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?  Yes, you are our glory and joy!

 

from X. Rae Browning, First Christian Church, Cumberland, MD

            Being left behind, separated, unable to touch another physically, can leave us in excruciating pain. But being left behind with no future of seeing face to face is far worse than any pain imaginable. Waiting is seldom one of my more successful endeavors, but holding on faithfully, remembering Christ’s teachings helps deaden such pain for me.

St. Paul demonstrates a love for those whom he couldn’t see.  He knew that if they held on to the Word of God as they were taught, there is a promise of a future of seeing face to face inevitably. Praise Christ, our blessed Redeemer! This text reminds me of the hymn:

Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face;

            Here would I touch and handle things unseen.

Remembering is the key.  Our future lies in remembering Christ’s love for us, even when waiting isn’t our strong suit. Christ our Redeemer is coming.  As we await him, let us remember that there is a future, even when we feel all is gone, because the promise lies in Christ Jesus himself.

Thank you, Jesus, for all you have done

and for those who remind us

that there is joy and glory in Your Word.

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