But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless. But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. 1 Thessalonians 3:3-6
Troubles come. Sometimes they come because we have pledged our allegiance to Jesus. Our families are surprised by the changes occurring in us, friends and co-workers may distance themselves. And in hostile countries, persecution and mistreatment will follow. Expect it! “All those that desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will experience persecution”.
You are trodding upon new territory now. You are establishing heaven on earth, occupying ground for God’s kingdom which now is in your heart. So, just know, it goes with the territory. That’s what Paul told the believers in Thessaloniki. Of course, it should break our heart when others suffer. And it did break the apostle Paul’s. Our faith and hope in Jesus eventual victory, return, and establishment of His Kingdom can carry us through!
Am I aware of the suffering of others, both here and abroad? How strong is my faith in God and Jesus’ promise to return and make all things right?
God, as this day begins… I am mindful that many Christians experience life-threatening persecution in many places around the world. Please be their encouragement and fortress of protection. Remind me often to lift them in prayer and when able, to encourage them with Christian love and hope.