“Christianity is like a nail–the harder you strike it, the deeper it goes.”
The aforementioned quote is attributed to Yemelyan Yaroslavsky (try saying that with a mouthful of mashed potatoes at your Thanksgiving meal). Yaroslavsky was a devout Russian atheist–but he was closer to biblical truth than he probably wanted to be.
Paul opens his second letter to the Thessalonians by giving thanks for their faith, which was “growing abundantly” along with their increasing love for one another (v. 3). But this growth wasn’t the result of cultural favor. Actually, it seems to have been quite the opposite. Evidently, their growth came while simultaneously enduring persecutions and afflictions and worthily suffering for the kingdom of God (vv. 4-5).
The conditions that seemed unfavorable at a surface level actually proved to be fertile ground for gospel depth and the advancement of the kingdom of God. The harder they were struck, the deeper they went.
May the same be said of us.