He Who Calls You is Faithful

Have you ever noticed that in much of Paul’s letter to early Christians, he doesn’t pray for their suffering or persecution to go away, but for God to work in it?

In 1 & 2 Thessalonians Paul encouraged the church to continue to grow in their faith and love for one another in the midst of their persecution for following Jesus. He didn’t ask God to take the persecution away, but quite the opposite. He asked that God will “enable you to live a life worthy of His call,” and “give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11 NLT)

Why does Paul pray this instead of asking God to take the persecution away?

So that “the name of our Lord Jesus may be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with Him.” (2 Thessalonians 1:12 NLT)

We are so quick to pray our hardships away. We don’t like discomfort. We don’t like it so much that we will do anything to avoid it — hence the rampant addictions to drugs, alcohol, social media, video games, gambling, pornography, buying stuff we don’t need, food, entertainment, etc.

We like to numb. To unplug. To turn-off.

And the reality is, it’s okay to not like persecution, suffering, or discomfort. It might be odd if someone did! 

BUT what if there was something valuable to be found in the midst of these trials? 

What if the very thing stealing your comfort is the very thing that could lead you to the everlasting Comforter?

Paul knew this as he wrote to the Thessalonians. The church decided to turn away from their old life and follow Jesus; to live a life pleasing to God. And with this new pursuit came persecution from their communities, families, and friends. It also meant dying to self. 

They no longer lived for the short pleasures of the flesh, but lived for eternal pleasure that awaited them in Heaven. 

Paul reminded the Thessalonians that Jesus was coming back soon and although things were tough, by God’s power they had the ability to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

They developed an eternal perspective. They knew that that although they may experience momentary affliction, something more valuable was happening inside of them. 

They had a stronger, deeper faith in the finished work of Jesus and by the power of His spirit, they could get through anything. 

They looked and lived more like Him. 

They were being prepared for their eternal home of no more pain, sorrow, or suffering. But joy forevermore with Him.

It’s only by pain that we know pleasure.

It’s only by sorrow that we know joy.

It’s only by death that we know life.

It’s only by darkness that we know light.

I don’t know what trial you might be facing today (we’re all facing them at some point), but I do know that God is not a life waster, but a LIFE GIVER. 

He makes beauty from ashes. 

He brings to life that which was once dead.

And He will redeem all things to something more glorious than before.

If you’ll follow Him, He will make everything in your life beautiful in its time. How do I know? Because…

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:24

How to Overcome the Fear of Loss

Have you ever been let down in a big way?

Maybe a failed relationship.

Perhaps childhood experiences that left you unable to feel as though you could trust anyone.

Or even a death of a parent, friend, or child.

It changes you doesn’t it?

The slow sting of brokenness and death almost become paralyzing.

Will I ever love again? Will I ever trust again? Is it even possible for me? I am afraid to get hurt. I’m petrified of experiencing loss and grief again. It’s easier to stay back in the safety and comfort of isolation.

I struggled with these feelings A LOT. The experiences of brokenness in my home as a child led me to believe I should expect the worst will happen to me. And then as an adult, sometimes the worst did happen. The death of my father in my 20s was at the top of the list.

What do we do when we’ve experienced loss after loss and disappointment after disappointment?

It is easier to stay safe and not open ourselves up to the opportunity of another loss.

It’s easy to say we’re a “strong independent woman who doesn’t need anyone.”

But what kind of life is that? What if God was offering you more?

I met Matt (my now husband) in the late summer of 2019. We dated and sadly most of the time I was waiting for the next shoe to drop.

My previous relationships clearly didn’t work out, so why would this one? There were times I struggled with a deep sense of fear of loss. In a weird way, I looked for the “red flags” and reasons for it not to work. Reasons for me to to stay in the “safe, dark, motionless, airless” casket as C.S. Lewis would say.

But the red flags weren’t there. The reasons for me to walk away weren’t there. The self-preservation wasn’t needed. God was with me.

I had to ask this very serious, but simple question:

Where does my trust lie?

If my trust lies with myself or in man, it will always be broken because this world is broken. I will get hurt again. I will be let down. I will be disappointed. We live in a fallen world and even our best friends will fail us.

But do you know what will never fail us?

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.—Psalm 18:2

You see, we can’t go through life trying to be our own refuge, our own shield, our own deliverer.

Jesus makes it very clear what will happen if we try to save ourselves:

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” — Matthew 16:25

The moment we attempt to play God over our life, is the moment we’ve lost; we’re out of step with the will of God.

Can the will of God for my life be heartbreak? Or grief?

Well, if you believe that God is the creator of all things, that everything holds together through Him, that He knows the number of hairs on your head, the days of life you will live, that He thought of you before the foundation of the world, and named every star in the sky… If you believe in this almighty, all-powerful God who is in full control of all things – then yes.

Of course we know from scripture that He hates to see His children suffer. But for reasons that are above our understanding, He allows certain events to happen in our life (even horrible, terrible, seemingly pointless ones) that ultimately weave together into the promises that He has for those who follow and trust Him.

What good could come out of such loss and suffering? is a question I’m sure the disciples thought as they watched their Lord get crucified. But little did they know the good that really was to come from that horrific event!

Job experienced more tragedy than most of us will ever face in a lifetime. He had every reason in the world to develop a hard heart. But look what God did through his life and how much the story of Job has helped millions of people throughout history.

In a strange way, I am thankful for many of my hardships. They have not only humbled me and shaped me, but they have shown me the love of God in deep and tangible ways — ways I may have never have understood had I not suffered.

So how do we overcome the fear of loss?

Like any other fear — we face it head on. We surrender it to God. We trust that when we get hurt, disappointed, or lose a loved one, God will never leave us nor forsake us. We remind ourselves that this world is not our home. It is a dim depiction of what is to come.

We can hold loosely to the things of the earth because we are held tightly by the arms of our father.

Life is fallen and broken here. We can choose to hide and protect ourselves OR we can put our faith in the one who calms a storm with the mere sound of His voice.

You get to decide every single day.

My days look different now. 🙂

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” — 1 Corinthians 2:19