2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (ESV)Two adjectives sort of surprised me, or at least stood out to me when I read this today. Paul recognizes that God loved us and gave us two things (among many others) through grace: eternal comfort and good hope. Not just comfort and hope, but comfort that will endure forever, and hope that is of good quality (as opposed to being worthless).
The Thessalonian church needed those words, and I think we do as well. We need to be reminded that comfort and hope are stronger when they are given from an eternal perspective. Sometimes, I think we get too used to living on earth, that we forget to realize God has an eternal plan. Lots of things can give comfort here (money, chicken noodle soup and crackers, a hug), but those things in no way could be looked at as eternal. Lots of things give us hope (maybe I will get a promotion, maybe the Cowboys can win a playoff game, etc.), but those hopes are not necessarily good.
How much better is our grace-filled encouragement of eternal comfort and good hope!