2 Thessalonians 1:4 – Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
A friend of mine who was in the military once shared a harrowing war story with me. He and his men were deployed in Iraq and on patrol when they walked into an ambush. Enemies had set a trap for them that they unfortunately could not get out of. They were surrounded on all sides, taking heavy enemy fire, low on supplies and ammunition, and had to settle in for a long fire fight.
Thankfully, their communications still worked, and they were able to call in for support. Exhausted, beat up, stressed out, and on alert, the soldiers needed to keep fighting to hold their position until reinforcements showed up, put down the enemy, and got them safely home.
The Bible talks a lot about spiritual warfare, which has a lot in common with actual combat. For the Church, we are surrounded by the Enemy at work in the world seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. In prayer, we have communications access to Jesus Christ who is our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
This is precisely the mood behind Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians who were experiencing “affliction”, “conflict”, “distress”, “darkness”, “evil”, “persecutions”, “suffering”, “rebellion”, “lawlessness”, “wicked deception”, “unrighteousness”, ultimately from “wicked and evil men”, and “Satan”.
We know that one day, Jesus Christ is riding into history on a white horse with an army called the angelic host to destroy His enemies and ours. The question is, when will this happen? How long do we need to wait?
Have you ever felt like you’re surrounded on all sides by mental, physical, or emotional oppression? When you’re in situations like that, ask the Lord to comfort and help you and He will.
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