It’s no secret that navigating this world can be tough. In fact, you could be facing something (or many things) right now that is downright stressful and overwhelming. We have all been there, and even if you are in a season of peace, the world around us remains in chaos. Simply turn on the news, and you’ll be flooded with sorrowful realities.

When sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, God warned us what we could expect as a result of choosing our way over God’s way (Genesis 3:16-19). All throughout the Bible, you will find story upon story of trials, tribulations, and consequences derived from selfish motivations. But there are also great victories, which always follow repentance and restored faith in the One who is above all things. In other words, there is hope. And even though we will never see the end of evil and darkness on this side of Heaven, as followers of Christ, we can hold fast to the eternal promises of God through our faith and hope in Jesus (1 John 2:25, John 16:33, Psalm 37:23-24, Matthew 11:28-29, Isaiah 40:31, Jeremiah 29:11, 1 Peter 2:24, Exodus 14:14, Isaiah 54:10, John 8:36).

1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 speaks of this hope, a hope that is set upon the return of Christ. Though this passage is centered around the people’s worry over whether those believers who had previously passed away will be collected by God when Jesus returns, we are assured that God has not forgotten them. In fact, they will be the first to be received by God.

Sit with that for a moment. God hasn’t forgotten the people who loved him thousands of years ago. Though our physical life is like a vapor in the grand scheme of eternity, the God of the universe remembers each and every person whose name is written in the Book of Life. Wherever you may find yourself today, rest assured that God sees you. He knows what’s happening in your life. He knows the struggles and temptations you face. He feels the hurts you feel. He has also mapped the victories along the way and shares in your joyousness and excitement. He is with you through it all.

Chapter 5 goes on to talk about our preparedness in Christ’s return, encouraging us to be ready and not lose ourselves in the circumstances of today. Practically speaking, this passage communicates for us to set our sights on what truly matters. That’s not to say that the devastating realities of our day aren’t important—they very much are and warrant attention. But this life is only temporary, wherein eternity is forever. What you do with the time God has given you is important. We may not be able to go back and change anything from the past, but we do have the opportunity to change the direction of our future by choosing to honor God in this present moment.

Reflection Questions:

Are you so focused on what is in front of you today that you have lost sight of God in it all? Have you become consumed by your roles and personal responsibilities to the point that you have become a slave to the worldly demands of your time and energy? Is your worry revolving around trivial matters or circumstances beyond your control?

How are you spending your time these days? Do you need to refocus your priorities?