Letters to the Thessalonians

This devotional is written by Lucy Knight. Lucy has just finished a masters in journalism and now works at the Sunday Times.

2 Thessalonians 1

1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
5 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection

Paul founded the church in Thessalonica, but he couldn't stay with them for very long. Without this support, the Thessalonians are struggling. Which, first of all, is a great reminder to have Christian support networks in our lives. Paul, along with fellow leaders Silas and Timothy, has already written this church one encouraging letter: 1 Thessalonians. We don't know what the response was from the Thessalonians, but we can guess they said something about not being worthy of Paul's praise, as Paul reiterates this praise, assuring them they should be thanked "and rightly so." Which, again, is encouraging, because it can be very easy to feel we're "less than" other Christians we see as having a stronger faith.

Paul then addresses the persecution and trials the Thessalonians are experiencing, and in a Taylor Swift-esque "haters gonna hate" fashion, he tells these young Christians not to "shake it off" exactly, but to "pray it off" - he ensures them that he, Silas and Timothy will be praying "constantly." God, Paul explains, wants to see justice.

Today, walking around London, we’re constantly reminded that the world isn’t fair. I can see that the rate of rough sleepers is rising, I can feel the sweltering heat (at the time of writing) and know that we're in the midst of a climate emergency, and I can read that there's yet another privileged Etonian in number 10.

We need to stand up for God's idea of justice. And yes, that means we're going to experience some hardship, like the Thessalonians did. But we are not alone. In our church community, we have our own Pauls, Silases, and Timothys to encourage and pray for us. And God will provide us with "relief" when it all gets too much: he knows the answers to the questions we can't comprehend.

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