2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:”
Growth can be both good and bad.
A growing portfolio, a growing family, an increasing network of friends, and growing muscles can all be right.
A growing waistline, ego, bitterness, or neglect is not so desirable.
The report that the Apostle Paul received of the church at Thessalonica was one of the good tidings. He told of their faith that had grown and was growing. Because of it, he testified to others of the benefits they received.
Their faith grew in many areas. Charity to others abounded. As God met their needs, they reached out to meet the needs of others. That charity was universally practiced and grew.
Their faith grew despite the tribulations they endured. Or was it because of the tribulation? One of the first lessons a newly born child of God has to learn is that this life will is filled with trials and tribulations.
For many of us, we are pressed out of measure, out of our schedules and routines. We are placed in an incubator with those we live with and those we love only to find we’re not quite as prepared as we had once thought.
Others have been isolated and alone. For these who are single, widowed, or just living on their own, the quarantine has magnified that fact.
For our faith to grow, should we not reach outside of ourselves to those who are in need? We do not have the excuse of being too busy. If anything, we have too much time. How we utilize this time is essential to keeping the church intact.
Some will call this COVID-19 a purging, a purge of the weakest among us. That statement lacks the compassion God gives to His children for each other and the lost.
For the saved children of God, we must see this as a trial of our faith, an opportunity to grow that faith.
The church of Thessalonica rose to the occasion of their trials and tribulations. They did not stop their giving they helped to meed each other’s needs and found they did not lack. God also protected them in such a way as to trouble those that troubled them.
2 Thessalonians 1:6 “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;”
When we know what it is our God can and will do for us in our time of need, we can go about our day with peace, joy and happiness knowing that come what may, God’s got this.
Knowing who we are in Christ can empower us though we may seem weak and without strength.
It is interesting to note that through what seemed to be a difficult trial, their faith grew exceedingly. Why is that?
How was Gideon able to lead a band of three hundred men against the Midianite army that God said numbered as grasshoppers for multitude and conquer them?
How did Elijah call down fire and then kill over four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and 400 priests as one man?
How was a young David able to slay a giant, a warrior of seemingly greater strength than himself with only a stone and a sling?
Their faith allowed them to see God as bigger than the enemy they were facing, or the trial in which they found themselves.
Our faith will grow when we see God more significant than our problems, more prominent than the mountain we face, or the darkness of the night.
We may look around us to see what we have to combat our enemy only to find that we are weak, frail, and lacking. When we rest upon the promises of God, His strength, and His power, we can see and feel what Paul felt.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
It goes against our logic to think we should glory in infirmities, weaknesses, and frailty. God promises that when we rely on His strength when we are weak, He can show Himself strong through us.
Faith gives us clarity to see that God IS faithful. God keeps His end of the bargain.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Nothing that has come nor will come into our life will ever be more than we can handle. If that feeling of being overwhelmed is present, we can take heart that God will see us through because He IS faithful.
Jesus prayed for Peter that, when Satan tried him, that his faith not fail. We may ask why Jesus didn’t lessen the trial or remove it altogether?
Our Savior knew that in that time of crisis, Peter would learn that it was faith, not his strength, that would ultimately conquer.
Someone once said, “Crisis reveals character,” and that is very true.
Also, the crisis, trials, and tribulations will reveal our faith. If we are selfish and self-serving, we will fail and seek to blame others for our failure. But if we, Like Paul, rely on our weaknesses to aid our faith to trust God’s grace, strength, and power, we can rejoice as the world looks on in disbelief.
May we pray together that this trial we are all in, may abound to the glory of God the Father through our faith and trust that He will see us through.
May we purpose in our hearts to store up testimonies that will lift our God before those who are weak and without strength.
Testimonies of how He saw us through.
Testimonies of how He healed, protected and provided.
Then, we can show the world that through this pandemic, God’s people have faith that is intact and growing.