2 Timothy 1:6-8

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6-8
Is suffering normal? Sometimes it feels like certain folks have a disproportionate amount of suffering compared to others. I know a kid from my past who lost his dad and his mom in a short time span. My wife lost her father when she was in high school. My neighbors have watched their precious little daughter suffer through leukemia. 2020 has brought us plenty of loss, 250,000 people dead from a virus. Many more are sick, and some permanently scarred from the aftereffects of the virus raging through their bodies. Many have lost jobs or been laid off or received a pay cut. It’s safe to say 2020 has been marked by suffering. And we have seen the most recent rounds of setbacks as the virus starts another bonfire in our communities, leaving us wondering if there is any hope for rest from this.
Paul is explaining to Timothy that suffering is part of the Christian life (2 Timothy 3:12). There are things that won’t go our way. Paul tells Timothy the Spirit of God gives us power, love, and self-discipline. The Spirit gives us power over sin, love for others, and self-discipline for those times where our mouth moves faster than our thoughts. So, when those times of suffering come, and they will come, we are equipped by the Holy Spirit to look to Christ so that in our suffering we can say with Paul in v. 12 that ‘…I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.’ In other words, Paul had entrusted his very life to Jesus. As he sat writing what may have been his final thoughts to Timothy in a dark, musty dungeon cell in Rome, he lets Timothy know it had all been worth it for the sake of the gospel. You see, the gospel makes this all worth it - the message that Jesus paid the price for our sins and made right with God what we could not possibly hope to make right gives us hope. While times like this make it hard to look to eternity, we must continue to believe that each and every person we come across is an eternal being who needs the hope of Jesus, whether they see it right now or not.
We can be tempted to look back on this year and discount it as junk, rubbish, or a waste of a year, but this passage calls us to more. It calls us to look and see what we can learn, it begs us to think of 2020 in light of the Gospel, in light of eternal beings who need the hope of an eternal God. As we gaze back on the absolute messiness of it, I hope like Paul, we can affirm that it was worth it for the sake of the Gospel.
Questions for reflection:

  1.  How have you seen hope in 2020? 
  2.  What has God taught you this year?  
  3. Who can you encourage with the message of the Gospel? 
David Flug | Community Life Pastor

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