The Good, The Bad, and The Bold

As we turn the corner into chapter two of 1 Thessalonians, we find Paul recalling the way he and his team engaged in their ministry to these people. It was good. It had been bad. But they were bold.

The effect of his team’s work in Thessalonica was good. Paul wrote:

“For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.”

There was much fruit in the work that they had done. Many believed. Their faith was thriving despite their challenging circumstances. They came and bore fruit in Thessalonica. And the fruit was good. Continue reading The Good, The Bad, and The Bold

The Three Longest Nights

In our day of binge-watching entire seasons of our favorite tv shows and virtually limitless on-demand entertainment options, three days and three nights of silence and fear and hiding is next to impossible to really comprehend. But I suggest to you that, even in a starkly slower time, the followers of Jesus found those three days and nights between Jesus’ burial and resurrection to last for what seemed like years.

[Side note: I realize that our tradition is to observe Good Friday as the day of the week of Jesus’ crucifixion and the resurrection on Easter Sunday. I also recognize that Jesus said that it would be three days and three nights. The whole discussion is a matter for another context.]

For three days and nights the disciples were trying to wrap their heads and hearts around the notion that Jesus simply was not who they thought him to be. No doubt they lay sleepless in the dark night wonder how they could misunderstand, why things had gone the way they had, and were the soldiers coming for them next?

The fear and uncertainty mingled powerfully with the pure grief that came with the loss of this man who was a friend like none they had ever known – the One who had fed thousands through the very hands of these who now stayed hidden behind locked doors. The hope that less than a week before had moved them to spread their cloaks on the ground as a makeshift carpet and shout with the joyous, “Hosanna,” had vanished.

But, come Sunday morning, everything was seen to be different than it seemed.

In these hard days and gut-wrenching nights, could we have the spiritual gumption to step back and look beyond our heartache to see the certainty of what is surely to be? Can we, through the eyes of faith embrace the hope built entirely on the very nature of the One who proved His love and faithfulness through the cross and the empty tomb?

In the assurance of His promise, even the longest nights are a temporary trouble.