1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
1 Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone,
2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith,
3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.
4 For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.
5 For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.
6 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—
7 therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith.
8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.
9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God,
10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.
12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
There is a wonderful encouragement and hope in the Lord that is experienced upon discovery of promised blessings and provision. This is when inspiration and excitement are strong because of anticipated good times. Paul talks about another destiny than just good times, though. This is one where faith in God is greatly challenged because of difficulties that seem to be far from encouraging. If faith is based upon circumstances alone, the temptation can become strong to just give up on what doesn’t appear to be working. If, however, faith is maintained in a relationship of love with the eternal Almighty God, there is no adversity that can compromise it. Rather than feeling discouraged and defeated in the challenging times, we’ve been given a family to draw strength and encouragement from. Paul is not condemning, but very sensitive to the challenges of life that can overwhelm, passionately desiring to flood them with prayers and personal support to strengthen and enable overcoming of any giving up thoughts. The establishing of blameless hearts is in need of perseverance through the trials rather than just enjoyment of the high moments. It’s the trying of faith in the hard times that produces the perfecting work of patience and the rewards that come on the other side of storms in a way that only blue skies will never bring.