In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
Meanwhile, we’ve got our hands full continually thanking God for you, our good friends – so loved by God! God picked you out as his from the very start. Think of it: included in God’s original plan of salvation by the bond of faith in the living truth. This is the life of the spirit he invited you to through the message we delivered, in which you get in on the glory of our master, Jesus Christ.
So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech…. Because of the master, we have great confidence in you. We know you’re doing everything we told you and will continue doing it. May the master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.
(2 Thess 2.13-17; 3.4-5)
Against my fears, my doubts, my ignorance, I trust in thee, O father of my Lord!
The world went on in this same broken dance when, worn and mocked, He trusted and adored:
I too will trust, and gather my poor best to face the truth-faced false. So, in his nest I shall awake at length, a little scarred and scored.
(from: Diary of an Old Soul, by George Macdonald, 1905)
What will I do when my culture, my friends and some of those closest to me reject my faith and think me deluded? What will I do when the revelation on which my faith rests makes absolutely no sense in the thinking of my society – and in my heart I recognise how utterly alien it is? What will I do when my most earnest prayers, for God to glorify himself and transform lives, go unanswered?
I look over the brink at unbelief and tremble; I listen to assumptions of those who reckon it will all be ok, and wonder at how they get there. I turn again to the good news of Jesus, and find that he too faced mockery and unbelief, and yet held firm to his task, trusting absolutely in his Father’s love, power and purpose in and through his suffering and death.
I choose to hold fast – God helping me – to what I can know of Jesus; to what he told me about himself and his task; to what he told me about the character of my Creator and the place which is prepared for me in the age to come. It may seem nonsense to some, but it makes more sense to me than anything else has ever done.
I choose to believe, especially where I cannot understand and in spite of the mockery which such belief provokes in this sceptical age, that the God revealed to me through the Hebrew Scriptures, and affirmed as Father by my Lord Jesus, is absolutely just, loving, powerful and sovereign, and that when all things temporal are wound up and we enter into life eternal in glory, we will have no doubts left about him.
I choose to give thanks, for what I can know, can see, can experience here and now of all the good things which are poured into my life and which bring daily tokens of love from my Father’s heart. I give thanks for the revelation which I have in the bible, those parts which comfort as well as those parts which leave me baffled and uncomfortable – God forbid that I should ever think myself fully comprehending the mystery of his character, power and eternal nature! I give thanks for the global church, witnessing in so many places to lives transformed by Jesus’ love and sacrifice, which strengthens and encourages me to persevere in faith.
Master, take us by the hand and lead us along the path of the Father’s love and Christ’s endurance, by your Spirit at work within us day by day. May we glorify you, growing in faith and quiet trust, bearing fruit for Jesus, in whose name we pray, Amen.