2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
This is a word which we must experience to really understand. It is a word of vulnerability, an emotional word, a tender word. In its basic use it is a strong earnest call to a friend, and then the friend's answer and encouragement. A plea none of us enjoy, but when comfort is needed it is good to have such companions in life.
This is the word for what happens when we have our spirits lifted by someone who really cares. By the time we communicate our struggle we may be feeling the weight of despair. Our friend comes quickly and puts an arm around us and speaks to our discouragement. That is Consolation.
On the other side of this relationship is the consoling friend, the giver of consolation. Sometimes a struggling friend's call for help may come in a facial expression, or just a word. This may be because this troubled friend doesn't want to burden or bother us, or may be embarrassed to show weakness in the face of struggle. We must train our ears and eyes to be alert for these calls, because the giving of consolation is most often deliberate. In the case of this verse the word “everlasting” tells us our faithful friend is always listening, watching, and prepared to console.
I have a friend, C. D. Ward, who is gifted with this treasure. He called across the miles last night because a few weeks ago he heard the struggle in my voice. I was vulnerable with him, because I knew I could be, and I knew I wouldn't harm him by sharing my burden, and... I knew he cared and was deliberately listening. Ah... to have such treasure in a friendship!
But this passage tells me that Jesus is such a friend, and perhaps that is why He gave this dear friend such a gift... because sometimes He needs a voice to speak His consolation, and an arm to warmly cover our shoulders and lift us up. So I thank both friends on this morning that is brighter because you cared and have been my consolation.