For those of you who know the Lawson’s, you would know that the matriarch and patriarch are two very different people. Not to say that they don’t share such qualities in varying degrees but, where Mom is expressive, encouraging, will hug anyone and is quick to cry, Dad is calm, collected, wise and disciplined. Second only to God, Mom and Dad have shaped me into the man I am today. To this day, I’ll do something and smile, knowing Mom would do the same thing. However, Dad’s words of wisdom will often pop into my head as I have benefited from his encouragement often over the years.
While my wife, Kelly and I were dating, I was flying back home from Florida and had to transfer through O’Hare in Chicago…literally one of the biggest airports in the world. I was anxious about making my connecting flight and was starting to sweat at the thought of the journey when Dad told me in a way that only he could, “Get off the plane and read the signs. They won’t lead you wrong.” Sure enough, I got off the plane and, when I could feel the anxiety swell and my chest start to tighten, I heard Dad in my head say, “Follow the signs”.
Our reading in 1 Thessalonians today is Paul encouraging very close friends of his about their faith. They are strong in their faith but, because of life circumstances, they are wavering. Paul is encouraging them, essentially telling them, “You’ve been preparing for this!”
It’s easy to trust in God when things are going well for you. However, it’s a whole other ballgame when life gets hard. How quick are you to trust in God in the midst of a storm? How much do you remember the truths you have read and internalized from the Bible beforehand?
I can recall the exact emotions I felt when I dialed Dad’s phone to tell him and Mom that Kelly and I miscarried our second baby when they didn’t even know we were pregnant. I remember the feeling of hopelessness as I was in the hospital being told I was suffering from seizures that were causing my heart to pause.
Where is God now?
Does He even care?
Friend, it’s through tears and through personal experience that I tell you that God cannot be closer to you than when you are going through trials. You have been preparing for this! Your faith is in place for when life gets hard. We have been blessed with hope!
My challenge to you is simple: trust and prepare.
If you are reading this and life is going well for you, continue to spend time alone with God and His Word. How can you strengthen your faith and secure your foundation for when life takes a turn?
If you are reading this and you’re struggling, hold fast to your faith! You’ve been preparing for this! God is near and promises to never leave you. The answers to your problems can only be found in the person of Jesus and the inspired words of the Bible.
There is hope! God is good and He is near!