“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we shall always be with the Lord. “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, 18)
Comfort! There are those times when a little child loses or misplaces their favorite stuffed animal before bedtime. Everyone in the house looks diligently to find the missing sleep buddy.
While others are looking, someone in the family is sitting on the bed, maybe holding the bereaved child, or at least striving to console and comfort. “We’ll find it … be patient … it’s here somewhere … you’ll see.”
And then, from another room, the magical words all wanted to hear but especially the little one whose bed buddy had been lost and wanted so desperately! “I found it … here it is … I’ll be right there.”
And the smile … the cuddles … the giggles … and ‘night, night!”
As we grow bigger … as we grow up … we will still find ourselves in need of comfort, yet the need is no greater in our big person’s heart than it was in that little one’s heart.
The brethren who comprised the young and energetic congregation of the Lord’s people in the city of Thessalonica … needed words of hope and comfort! They needed to be encouraged in the face of having lost some of their brethren who had already “fallen asleep in the Lord.”
With death comes grief! Still relatively young in the faith they were concerned about their fallen brethren somehow missing out on the Lord’s return. By words of inspired revelation, the apostle Paul helped them to better understand the events of the Lord’s second coming.
What wonderful and reassuring comfort this must have brought to those brethren back then. But, my friends, they should bring just as much comfort and encouragement to us living in the 21st Century.
We will not be dealing with the misapplication and false teaching that is so prevalent in the religious world in this article. But rather, we want to focus on what is the truth that saves, strengthens, and should motivate us to “stay strong in the Lord!”
Jesus Christ came to this earth once, in the flesh, and lived as a man; a man who faced the temptations, hardships, disappointments, harsh and cruel treatment at the hands of the very ones He came to save.
And before He went to the Cross, he assured His apostles, and thus each of us who choose to follow Him … that He is coming again! What a glorious truth to believe, hold on to, and yes, to look forward to with great anticipation!
We find His words of assurance recorded in John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Like the little child who misplaced their favorite bed buddy … you and I are in great need, living in a difficult and ever-increasing evil and perverse world. It can be and is discouraging, heart-wrenching, and at times simply overwhelming! And that is exactly what our adversary, the devil wants to happen in your heart and in mind.
I don’t know when His coming will take place … in fact … no one knows … not even the Son (Matthew 24:36). But what we do know is this:
- He is coming (John 14:1-3)!
- And when He comes back we shall “behold His glory …” (John 17:24)!
- We will be changed in a way we cannot comprehend now (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)!
- And then … oh, and then … the awesome, beautiful, and most wonderful of inspired promises as stated by the apostle John in Revelation 21:1-7. (Read it … You will be so glad you did!)
And that my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ is what the apostle Paul encouraged the Thessalonian brethren so long ago to do. They were to “comfort one another with these words.”
Like the old hymn says, ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through; My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;’ (Song entitled This World Is Not My Home)
We live … we work … in the darkness of this world, but we don’t belong in this world! We are to be “children of light” … and we are to be people of the day.
At any time, the events laid out so clearly of the Lord’s coming will arrive. So, my fellow soldiers in the Army of the Lord … stay busy with what you’re supposed to be doing … keep your heart pure and overflowing with hope … keep your eyes and your heart focused on Heaven’s open door because … HE IS COMING AGAIN!
Bill Fairchild, Jr