Duration: 365 days
Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:3–12
In 1980 doctors diagnosed Chris, a seven-year-old boy, with leukemia. Chris wanted to be a motorcycle police officer when he grew up. A friend of Chris’s family spoke to a member of the Arizona Highway Patrol about the boy’s dream, and a few days later several motorcycle officers stopped in to meet Chris.
But after the meeting the officers wanted to do more. They arranged for Chris to ride in the department’s helicopter with a local news reporter, who filmed Chris’s dream coming true. Eventually the boy also received a ride in a patrol car, a ride on a patrol motorcycle with sirens blaring, a custom-made uniform and even a battery-powered motorcycle to replace his wheelchair. Later that year, when Chris succumbed to the leukemia that had ravaged his body, the motorcycle officers granted full department honors to this fallen “officer” who had touched them so deeply.
However, the dreams of this boy didn’t die with him. They live on in the Make-a-Wish Foundation, an organization that helps fulfill the wishes of thousands of children who suffer from life-threatening illnesses.
It’s amazing how one person’s quiet suffering could grow into something so huge.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers to praise the amazing expansion of their faith. In fact, it wasn’t just their faith that had grown. So had the love they demonstrated toward each other. This increase occurred despite the suffering they were enduring as both Jews and fellow Gentiles persecuted them (see Acts 17).
Or did this amazing growth occur because of that suffering and persecution? When we suffer, God remains in control. In good times and in bad, he doesn’t leave us to our own resources. Rather, he provides the strength that allows us to hold on. God sometimes permits us to suffer because by carrying on we gain strength and moral character.
Are you suffering? What amazing thing does God have in store for you? God will walk with you as you struggle through each agonizing step, enabling you to grow in faith and to demonstrate love toward those around you.
To Take Away
- Can you recall people who’ve suffered, yet seemed to have an unmistakable sense of peace? How do you think they were able to remain calm in the midst of their troubles?
- Think back through the most difficult times of your life. Did you grow spiritually during those experiences? If so, in what ways did you grow?
- What steps can you take to become more faithful and loving—even, and perhaps especially, during times of trial?