Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
—2 THESSALONIANS 1:4—
Thomas Hochstetter: European Bible Training Center | Germany
What comes out when God turns up the heat in your life through persecution, temptations, infirmities, or major disappointments? What is the light at the end of the tunnel for you? The exit? A train? Something more hopeful? In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul commends the believers for their exemplary character in the midst of trials. We do not know the details of the trials, but it certainly involved personal hostility from their unbelieving countrymen (1 Thess. 2:14). Trials test true faith. But true faith perseveres because the One in you is greater than the trial. They received this opposition, not because of wrongdoing, but because “the word of the Lord has sounded forth from” them (1 Thess. 1:8). What makes them such a wonderful example? If you look at the verse, you will note two outcomes: perseverance and faith. They were hard-pressed; they were squeezed. But, instead of faltering, they grew in their faith toward God and their love for one another (2 Thess. 1:3)! “How can that happen?” you may ask. They endured because they had their eyes set on their only hope: Jesus Christ. They knew that home was still to come. Whatever trials you may be going through, whether it is persecution or personal troubles, know this: Jesus is the light at the end of the tunnel. He is in the midst of it all, refining your faith to bring about supernatural, spiritual fruit. Trials test true faith. But true faith perseveres because the One in you is greater than the trial. The next time you face hardship, consider the example of the Thessalonians. Look ahead to Christ, so that “God will count you worthy of your calling” (2 Thess. 1:11).