The scripture for today, February 16 (2/16), is 2nd Thessalonians 2:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
Who were these people the apostle Paul was writing? They were suffering. Physically they were suffering. Some in their group had even been killed for their faith. Mentally they were suffering. Would they be next? Would it be worth everything they were going through?
Spiritually they were struggling. The apostle Paul, who wrote this, had been through such struggles many times himself. He wanted to make sure their faith did not waver.
How? By praying that their persecution would stop? At no time in the Bible do we have an account of Christians pray that the persecution stop. What did they pray for? Boldness.
They could be bold if they knew Jesus Christ loved them personally. They could be bold if they knew God the Father loved them personally. They could be bold with eternal encouragement, strength.
“Just keep doing what you’ve been doing,” he basically told them. “With the strength God gives you, keep doing good deeds and spreading the Word.” Persecuted? Yes. Frightened? Yes. Cowering? Never.
How about your life?
God’s encouragement never ceases. It is always there. There when you feel alone, when you feel forsaken, when you are frightened, when you feel helpless, when you feel hopeless.
God gives good hope. Sometimes things in your life may be going so badly you have trouble having faith in God. But you can still hope. The candle of your faith may be flickering, but your hope can still be a flaming hope, a large hope, a good hope.