«But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you—therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith» (l Thessalonians 3:6, 7).
IN CHAPTER 3 of I Thessalonians, Paul presents three themes:
He testifies of his great love for the Thessalonians by sending Timothy to strengthen and comfort them in the midst of the tribulations they are going through. The apostle’s concern was that the enemy would take advantage of tribulations to weaken their faith. True pastors act in this way: they shape and encourage their brethren in the faith.
He rejoices in the well-being of the Thessalonian brethren. Timothy bore good news: the brethren were firm, despite their needs and their trials. Our faith is justly demonstrated in trials. And remember that in difficult times we can count on God’s protection.
He prays for them, wanting to go and see them, and prays that the care and kindness among them will become even stronger. And with that they will be able to grow in holiness in the presence of God.
When we pray for friends and brethren, we ourselves are blessed because we learn to intercede and because we learn to depend on God.
Paul’s Christian life miraculously began with the encounter in Damascus, and Paul’s i first prayer was to tell God what he wanted Him to do. During his ministry, he always asked God the same question. He knew that God is the One who opens the doors and the One who closes them. Maybe that is why some people do not dare to pray to the Lord and say, «What do You want me to do?»
God brings about the most real and impactful victories from the most apparent and humiliating defeats.
On one occasion the great Polish musician A. Rubenstein (known for his self-discipline since he practiced the piano for sixteen hours a day) said, «If I spend a day without practicing, I notice the difference. If I go two days without practicing my friends notice the difference. If I go three days without practicing, the public notices the difference.»
Growth comes from practice.We must continually be praying, trusting, living God’s will, testifying, and saving others.
In no area of life is good performance achieved without continual practice. As David Livingstone stated,
«I decided never to stop until I reach the end and fulfill my purpose.»