1 Thes. 5:9-11
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
When she was a child, school was a joy. She loved learning, and she had many friends there. As she and her classmates grew through middle school and high school, things changed. She still loved learning, but the environment was not necessarily joyous or inviting. Social controversies distracted her from her studies. There was drama around every corner, and she often thought about just quitting and figuring out something else. So oppressive was that environment for her that she did not expect to make it to graduation day. What carried her through those years was the encouragement of her friends reminding her of how precious that goal would be to reach.
The children of God need encouragement to make it through this life and reach what is next. This order of things is so far removed from God’s heavenly kingdom than it can seem incredibly difficult for some to endure for the time we must. It is very easy to lose our perspective here. We will see and experience a lot of evil, but we also must remember that we are here to fight against that evil. We will suffer for the sake of Christ, but we are to consider that suffering a joy. It takes the encouragement of our brothers and sisters to remind us why we must endure these things so that we can continue in that endurance. We see so much here that does not resemble God’s kingdom, and we cannot let that keep us from remembering that this very kingdom is at hand and within us.
Everybody needs a cheering section. It is not easy to run a marathon, and the crowds lining the roadway never stop encouraging the runners to continue. Every inch of that course has someone cheering and pushing the runners forward as they suffer through mile after mile of fatigue and lactic acid build-up. Sometimes the only thing that keeps the runners going is the crowd’s energy moving them forward. The spectators think the runners can do it, so the runners get it done. They only must remember that all the preparation and pain is worth reaching that finish line. Father, provoke us daily to encourage our brothers and sisters by reminding them of everything we gain at the end of this race if we endure to the end.