1 Thessalonians 4:12-5:11 tackles questions swirling around in Christian circles about end times. Even today people ponder what follows death. Many heard Jesus say he would return. Some thought he had. Others speculate about dates and times. Each generation has catastrophic events that raise the question, “When Lord?”
Jesus will return with those who have died and who are with him, assures Paul. Just exactly what happens between death and return is not clear in Scripture and we could spend time conjecturing but we know that somehow they are with Christ. Paul says Christ and Christians who have died will return and living Christians will meet them in the air. It will be a big celebration and we will be with him forever. We believe justice will be accomplished. The return will be sudden like “a thief in the night,” not expected. It will be like the coming of day.
Paul ends, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” The return of Christ, the promise of a new world that is just, and the reunion with loved ones gives great hope.
So what thoughts bring you hope today? I am not very hopeful that whatever party is in power will truly establish justice for I believe an eternal perspective is needed – a God who understands all and has experienced our pains. We can march but it often feels like the hardships of life are so many. But then a dawn comes that spreads color and visibility across the horizon that was cloaked in darkness. Perhaps today we should make an acrostic of hope.
H is for _______________
O is for _______________
P is for _______________
E is for _______________
I might say: health, opportunity, peace and eternal. How about you? Blessings.