Saturday, September 3, 2016
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” (1 Thessalonians 1:2,3 KJV).
Let us continue to patiently wait….
This past week, Mom and I visited an old family friend who used to go to the same church we attended many years back. Having not seen us in a few years, and having grown a bit frailer, she was surprised and delighted when we showed up unexpectedly at her nursing home room. All three of us have grown older but it was nice fellowship with her around Christ and His Word. Now in her 80s, she still declares, “I am still waiting for the Lord!” (The dear soul has been “waiting” at least 40 years.)
Paul highlighted the Thessalonians’ spirituality by mentioning their “work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” These elements (faith, love, and hope) appear throughout the Pauline epistles—sometimes as triplets (as here) but other times as couples. Let us focus on that last one, the “patience of hope.”
In the same chapter as today’s Scripture, we read: “ For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” And, Titus 2:13: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Finally, 2 Thessalonians 3:5: “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”
Our hope is not, “I hope He comes.” Our hope is, “Jesus Christ is coming for us and the rest of His Body, and we anticipate it patiently.” This is “the patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Brethren, “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope…” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Rather, be “looking for that blessed [happy, joyful] hope!” 🙂