We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. (2 Thess. 1:4)

At my alma mater, hockey was a big sport. Football not so much. While the hockey players enjoyed championships, our football team just hung in there and enjoyed the student body’s support. I have always rooted for underdogs. Those teams seem to go from season to season training hard and playing hard. They don’t receive acclamation or trophies. In fact, people joke about their losing streaks. But those teams persevere, and I admire them for it.

Many times, as in this letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul made note of how his brothers and sisters remained steadfast in their faith. He encouraged them to persist despite opposition. Those of us who persevere are counted as blessed (see James 5:11). In our earthly lives, we don’t get awards for being followers of Jesus. But we “press on toward the goal to win the prize” promised us in heaven (Phil. 3:14). That prize is the only one that matters.

During my senior year in college, my children attended the homecoming game with me. We didn’t know if our team would win, but we cheered with everyone else for our underdog Bulldogs. They never seemed to quit, so even though they didn’t rank high in the conference, we stayed loyal. As disciples, we can be faithful in trials and know that God considers us worthy of his kingdom.

Don’t give up when life gets hard. God will walk with you.

Paula Geister lives in Michigan and writes Bible studies for her church. She enjoys reading and watching her rabbit jump around the house.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.