Well, not in this life. We still go through trying times. We still will have struggles in life. There are times when we feel like giving up the race (every time we hit “the wall”). So, what are we to do? The Apostle Paul gives us some advice here in these verses quoted above. The Thessalonian Christians were struggling to hold on to their hope in Christ. They were discouraged because their loved ones were dying and there was no sign that Christ was on His way to take them home. Did their loved ones miss out on Christ’s second coming? Was Jesus really coming back? Paul lays out the plan: those followers of Christ who have died will rise first, then those of us left when Christ comes again will be caught up together with the others and … here’s the best part … we will ALWAYS be with the Lord.
My friend helped me finish a marathon I thought I never could finish simply by encouraging me with her optimism and by helping me to focus on the finish line. Similarly, Christians are to help one another by reminding each other of the death and resurrection of the Son of God and what He has accomplished for us. We are to reassure each other with the promise Jesus made to come back and carry us across the finish line. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.
Kevin Leach is pastor of West Newbury Congregational Church.