A reality of following Christ is persecution. Like no other people in history aside from the Jews, has there been as much persecution as Christ followers experience. Since the outset, Jesus himself experienced persecution from the religious people. By the time we read the books of the New Testament, with in 50- 70 years of Christ's death for most of them, the followers are being persecuted on all fronts. The church is Thessalonica is no different.
Here Paul praises them for standing firm in the face of opposition. They had faced persecution and stood up to it. Though it does not tell how they stand up to it, the chapter reveals it is possible. There are seasons of live when the hows are not as important as the fact that it can happen. The most fierce opposition is often from the people who are suppose to understand. We are not told who was opposing the followers in the church, but often across Asia minor it was the religious people in the cities.
The call for us to stand firm. Struggle will come, yet when it comes it still can knock us off our feet. The question is, do we stay down, or do we get up and stand firm? In the short-term giving up might seem like the thing to do, however the long-term requires that we stand firm.