The first chapter of II Thessalonians reads like a note from God to every religious person: here’s what God likes and doesn’t like.
First, the Good News. What He likes is growing faith in Him and growing love for each other. Especially in the midst of trials and persecution. So I need to hang on to Him and to my brothers and sisters, no matter what. Let trials press me into Him and them, and not pull me apart.
Now, the Bad News. The people who don’t know Him, who don’t obey the gospel of Jesus, and who persecute those who do - “they will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.” That’s word verbatim, as my old Navigator friend Bob Minor used to say.
All season long the Red Sox have been in the playoff run, they have been the “winners”. All season long the Tampa Bay Rays (they dropped “devil” from their name a few years ago, hmmm……) have been the “losers”. Until the last four minutes of the season, sometime shortly after midnight. The Sox lost to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. The Rays beat the New York Yankees. The Rays are going to Playoff Heaven, the Sox are Shut Out of the Post-Season.
In the pennant race of life, God bats last. That tricky devil on the mound can throw any curveball he likes, but it (and he) will be CRUSHED. It ain’t over till it’s over.