1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 —
My phone gives me accurate, simple, and constantly updated directions to whatever destination I enter into its maps app. Its accuracy, simplicity, and adaptability to the conditions around me have made the app an essential part of my daily life. Even though I claim the Bible occupies an even more important place in my life, it does not have the features I prize in my map app – it instead possesses a sprawling complexity that, while potentially intimidating, matches life’s breadth and difficulty.
Part of the Bible’s challenge comes from its purpose – it seeks to rehabilitate individuals’ thinking so they can properly function as God’s representatives in the world, making choices and exercising rule in ways that reflect His identity and will. Rather than outlining every scenario one might encounter and how one should respond, the Bible often marks out boundaries within which it expects people to learn to navigate. That approach explains the sometimes seemingly contradictory expectations it contains. This lesson begins a series looking at some of the conflicting emotions that attend following God’s will in the world and will consider the applications they possess for our lives. We will begin by exploring the contrasting emotions of lament and thanksgiving.