Hold On, Help Is Coming

When people hate us and treat us unkindly or cause us pain and grief just because we profess to follow Jesus, it can be overwhelming. I think part of what makes it so difficult is that we often find the greatest challenge from religious people who are convinced that, because we don’t see things the same way as they do, we are absolutely wrong, absolutely against the kingdom of God.

At the end of John 15, we see Jesus assuring His followers that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, was surely going to come and live within them. He would bring to mind all that Jesus had taught them and guide them in every step—even when the opposition was overwhelming.(15.26-27)

But (even though there is a chapter break there, which was added by well-intentioned editors to help us find things) Jesus underscores His intention in telling them these things:

I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.(16.1-4)

Jesus reminded His disciples that He was sending the Spirit so that they would not fall away and abandon the cause.(1) They would likely be ostracized from the center of religious and civic life (for indeed they were one and the same).(2a) People would even try to kill them with the firm belief that they were serving God by doing so.(2b)

Jesus goes to the root of the issue with these religiously zealous people. They did not really know the God they professed to serve. And because they did not know God the Father, they could not recognize the God the Son, Jesus.(3)

But Jesus was trying to equip them for what was ahead. He was preparing them for the hard days when those religious zealots would seem to be victorious over them.(4)

He reminded them that the Helper was coming. He was urging them not to let their fear pull them away from His call.

He told them to hold on.

Help is coming.

So you and I can take the same word, the same encouragement. Hold on. Help is coming. In fact, He is here, within the hearts of all who have believed on Jesus, bringing the very help we need.

It’s not always the way we want it. It’s not always the way we think it should be. But hold on. Help is coming.

I want to encourage you today. It you’re feeling overwhelmed by life, would you take a couple of minutes and listen to this song of encouragement?

Hold on, my friend. Help is coming.

Forged In Fire (Reprise)

We’ve been walking through this letter, 1 Thessalonians. Throughout the book, Paul has been challenging and encouraging us to embrace the refining work of God and develop in us A Real Life Faith.

One of the resonating and recurring themes is that a real life faith is forged in fire.

The late Adrian Rogers often said, “A faith that’s not been tested can’t be trusted.” There’s something to that.

Our faith never really gets strengthened unless it gets tested. It’s like a muscle. And the kind of faith that will go the distance, A Real Life Faith, is Forged in Fire.

We Saw It Coming

I’ve had the interesting task of training new teen drivers… 7 times now. I was a much younger, less grayed man when I started.

One of the challenging things to teach a new driver is to look ahead while maintaining awareness of where we are and what is going on around us. Though we have to be diligently conscious of many things, we have to look ahead.

Wise people, according to Proverbs 27.12, look ahead to see the danger approaching and hide themselves. In other words, they see it coming and prepare.

Paul was a wise man, but, with the Holy Spirit within him, he could see with a spiritual insight and perhaps even a supernatural revelation of things to come. He reminds the Thessalonians that he had warned them when he was there:

“For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know” (1 These 3.4).

The wise apostle had assured his students that hardships were going to be a part of the journey. The truth is that, in this broken world full of broken people, affliction is unavoidable. So maybe it wasn’t any huge insight, but the sober reality that hardships are a part of this life.

The genuine faith of these believers that Paul has spent the first couple of chapters celebrating was strong, but it would surely be tested. And, while he had done all that he knew to do to make sure that their faith would stand up to the testing, some things simply cannot be known until the testing comes.

“For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain” (1 Thess 3.5).

Paul, though confident in their faith, still was afraid that it might not be all that he thought it was. He expresses his fear in kind of a strange way, but he seems to point squarely at the adversary, Satan, who would seek to destroy their faith.

The missionary team had not misled the young believers in Thessalonica in regard to the things that were sure to come. Paul was like a good driving instructor, calling attention to things out on the horizon that may present challenges.

These young believers faced some tremendous challenges in the way of persecution and heartache. And their mentors write back to say, in essence, “Yeah, we saw it coming.”

You and I, if we would really hear Paul’s instruction, will recognize that troubles are indeed around the bend. The great God in whom we have placed our faith is indeed faithful. But we just don’t learn that unless that faith in Him is tested.

So when things settle down on the other side of the next storm, will we be able to look back and say the same, “We saw it coming?”

Father, we pray You would give us the wisdom to see trouble coming and to hide our faith deep in Your character in order to stand.