This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. – 2 Thessalonians 1:5-8
By the time the church at Thessalonica received Paul’s second letter, it continued to exist as it had been birthed, under persistent persecution and affliction. Theirs was a church born out of adversity, refined through pressure, and clearly looking for the return of their Savior. Through Paul, the Holy Spirit brought a word of encouragement, comfort, and correction to this church in distress.
While God has always provided a word of comfort to those who suffer, He has not always provided a short-term way of escape. Prosperity gospel proponents would have us accept the lie that pain is never a God-intended path, but to those who preach such a message I can only say, “Check the biblical record.”
There is a “rest” for God’s children, but it will not be permanent until we exit this earthly life or join Christ at His return. As C. S. Lewis once said, there may be some “pleasant inns” along the journey, but an eternal respite is only achieved when we arrive at home with Christ in heaven.
People today take time far more seriously than eternity. – Thomas Kelly