“3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, 11-12 (New International Version).
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breath.
Open your imagination to this one summer dawn. The dry air blows in a vast land, tauntingly passing through spaces in between rocks, rubbing the sleepy leaves of a brush, blows away sand and dust as it dances through the fields until it bounces on the cheeks of Sahira. That gentle kiss is her sign. Instinctively, Sahira made a commanding noise that prompted her young daughter, her siblings and all other relatives to gather that one strength to force a move. One step – a giant one – marks a long journey ahead. It is such a long journey that requires patience, perseverance, stubbornness, and rationing of strength.
On the other side of the world Eva has the same purpose. With a great resolve she joins a band of friends on an ambitious trip – an annual pilgrimage of sort. They must travel long distances wherever the wind blows.
They must haste. They must not take detours. They cannot be delayed. They will be faced with various temptations along the way and they cannot be distracted. There will be hurdles to take. They must weather the strongest storms. You see, they are on a mission and their future is at stake. They cannot be distracted.
Sahira and Eva are only two of the many animals who travel distances that have long amazed humankind. These animal migrations are so vast, so grand, so prolonged, that man took many years and decades to fully understand. Sahira, the matriarch elephant of Mali, is traveling with the herd covering hundreds of miles of vast lands overcoming threats of predators and sand storms and hunger and exhaustion.
Eva is a white feathered, red-beaked, seabird called Arctic Tern that must travel over 44,000 miles annually. These, and many more other animals (as documented and featured by National Geographic) maintain a fervid attentiveness in the whole process including other special behaviors man could only fathom in order to achieve one common goal. Eva might spot a tempting dinner along the way, but she must resist thinking that she can eat later, with a drive to reach the ultimate goal. Migrating animals exhibit these extraordinary behaviors that we humans find admirable all for a larger purpose.
A larger purpose.
The book of 2 Thessalonians was written soon after the first one. There were a lot of beliefs during that time that the second coming of Christ was going to happen anytime soon. However, a lot of Christians have forgotten about the message of Christ’s death and resurrection and found themselves away from the will of God. Paul wanted to correct this and reminded them to remain steadfast or firm or resolved. Paul, in his second letter, praises the Thessalonians and underscores their growing faith in God. With that growing faith, their love for each other also increases and their ability to resist temptations and overcome trials is great.
When I was in 4th grade we had to write an informal essay with this title, “Who Am I? I Am Who?” It was easy for a 10 year old to answer the question and write about his or her background – the birth, the family, the name and its meaning, what he or she wants to be when he or she grows up. But, at that young age I knew there was something else in that question. I took the question very seriously and started to ask myself who I really was. Why was I born? What is the reason of it?
What is the purpose of my being?
To be continued….