“Pray, brothers and sisters, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, that many may receive it gladly as you did.”
– 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Intro to this issue
Times of stress and challenge can either draw us closer into the heart and strength of God’s infinite love, or it can pull us downward into a spiral of debilitating fear and isolation. God’s Word reveals both his promise and a warning to not go off track when testing comes.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”1Peter 4:12-13
The prophets foretold that God would “shake the heavens, and the earth, and all nations” (Haggai 2:6,7). Times of testing and shaking reveal the kind of foundation we build our lives upon. Only a solid foundation can withstand the forces of fire and tempest. If our lives are united with Christ and rooted in his word, then we can enter the storm with the courage and strength which Christ gives us.
As Saint Patrick of Ireland was noted to pray,
This day God gives me, strength of high heaven
Sun and moon shining, flame in my hearth.
Flashing of lightning, wind in its swiftness,
Deeps of the ocean, firmness of earth.
This day God sends me, strength as my steersman,
Might to uphold me, Wisdom as guide.
Your eyes are watchful, your ears are listening,
Your lips are speaking, Strength at my side.
God’s way is my way, God’s shield is round me,
God’s host defends me, Saving from ill.
Angels of heaven, drive from me always,
All that would harm me, Stand by me still.
May we earnestly pray that God’s Word speed on and triumph, and may we grow in joy, confidence, and boldness to proclaim his Word wherever we go.
Sincerely in Christ,
Top photo credit: Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, aerial photo by © Peter Adams, source Shutterstock.com, ID: 652195627