Are you currently suffering? Are you being persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ? Are you grieving from a recent loss of a friend or loved one? Are you facing challenges and troubling decisions in your life?
Suffering is part of life. We experience loss in varying ways. The past couple of years have been tough on many of us. Some have lost loved ones. Some have lost friends. Some have lost co-workers. Some have lost jobs. Joy can seem to be out of reach.
Those who have not suffered loss may have experienced persecution for their faith. It may be as simple as a sarcastic comment that stings. It may be through a friend or loved one refusing to hang out with them because they don’t want to be with anyone who is “superstitious” and believes in an unseen God. It may even be physical beatings due to their faith.
Facing tough decisions can be challenging and take away our joy if we allow it. Making a choice to change jobs, choose a university, leave a relationship, start a relationship, make a large purchase, and any number of other significant decisions can cause stress, anxiety, and cause us to fret and worry.
In today’s passage, Paul commends the members of the Thessalonica church for their joy in the Holy Spirit despite experiencing severe suffering. We do not know the exact suffering the people were going through, but we can rest assured they were severe, or Paul would not have called them severe. Yet, through these sufferings, the people continued in their joy. Notice it comes from the Holy Spirit, meaning they relied and trusted on God, and He filled them with the Spirit. We, too, can experience joy through our sufferings, whatever they may be.
I pray we all trust God to fill us with the joy of the Spirit. I pray we reach out to God during our own sufferings. I pray each one of us experience the joy that only comes from God. Trust God. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Experience the joy of the Spirit. Give God the glory for His blessings.
1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.