“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. “
2 Thessalonians 1:4-10
To endure trial and torment…
There was never a time, there was never a day when trials and torment did not exist, when struggle and adversity did not weigh heavily on the spirit and the soul binding men and women to the challenges of a sinful and wicked world so full hatred and evil. Even from the earliest of days the chains would lock, fastening the very strong and the very weak, the very good and the very bad together with no regard or thought to who they were, amidst the dark bondage that would distress even the most faithful of God’s children.
They would know pain and hardship, turmoil and upheaval, as those with no regard for life made meager their estate and afflicted their souls.
Yet from that would come the promise of the Lord, the ever faithful promises of a great and loving Heavenly Father, who stood beside His children even in the darkest of days, walking beside them through all the tribulations of this world that could make miserable the lives of His children. The Lord would come to reveal himself in His righteousness and through Christ Jesus, His only begotten son, our Savior, the hostage to sin would be ransomed and captivity would be lead captive as those who worked their wicked ways throughout this world would find the judgment of God upon their heels.
It was… it is… it forever remains a sacred trust between the Heavenly Father and His beloved children.
Amidst our world today we see trial and torment, we see pain and suffering, and we hear the cries of the captive prisoners taken. Chaos seems to abound as hostages are ripped from their families and their homes, as slaves are made of men and human dignity is held to be cheap, as flesh is trafficked as nothing more than a instrument of lust and pleasure, leaving the shattered ruins of a life in its trail, and we wonder… we wonder why is the judgment of the Lord so far off? Where is His righteousness and His compassion in these dark, dark days of hardship and turmoil?
Yet, in the Epistle of St. Paul to the faithful who suffered their own affliction in Thessalonica we come to know the truth of the Lord. Faithful and vigilant He will not fail or forsake His children, nor will He stand far from their plight or their struggle. Each and every step of the way He shall walk beside them in righteousness and love, and, amidst that, the wickedness of man will not be left to stand. He shall move the hearts and the souls of the unrighteous to justice, His divine justice, for His mercy will not contend in iniquity and in evil.
In those times, in those days His name will be praised and glorified for the greatness of His love as He carries His children from the hand of harm to the blessed embrace of safety by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Trust therefore in the Lord, even in the greatest of struggles, through all the darkest of days, humble yourself before His great and holy name, praying that He hears the cries of the captive prisoners and the slaves and the hostages, and that His justice shall not be far off, knowing that He is ever faithful, ever loving and that He shall work His will according to His great compassion. Trust in Him and know He shall work through all to shine His light through the darkness and there His love will come to a sinful world.
It will be then that all captives and prisoners will rejoice once more in deep breathe they will take amidst the blessed air of liberty that now fills their hearts and their souls, knowing a God of righteousness has worked His ways through the name of His son, Christ Jesus.