Spend time in prayer and silence with God, asking Him to meet with you and speak to you.
Therefore, when we could no longer stand it, we thought it was better to be left alone in Athens. And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you concerning your faith, so that no one will be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. In fact, when we were with you, we told you in advance that we were going to experience affliction, and as you know, it happened. For this reason, when I could no longer stand it, I also sent him to find out about your faith, fearing that the tempter had tempted you and that our labor might be for nothing. But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith and love. He reported that you always have good memories of us and that you long to see us, as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and affliction we were encouraged about you through your faith.
– 1 Thessalonians 3:1-7
Sent from Athens, Timothy could help these believers grow in their faith but would not be as conspicuous as Paul or Silas. Even in his absence, Paul was continuing to show his concern and care for the Thessalonian believers. Paul instructed the believers in Thessalonica not to be shaken by persecution because we have been appointed to this in God’s plan. Jesus said, “In this world you will have suffering. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33b) It is the hope found in these words that allowed them to persevere despite their suffering and persecution. They were holding strong to their faith and resisting the temptation to go back to their old way of living. Timothy’s report encouraged Paul and brought him great joy! His work there was not done in vain.
The Big Question
How do you view suffering in this world? How does God use suffering to perfect His sanctifying work in you? Are you able to encourage others even though you may not be present with them? How do you use modern technology to encourage and strengthen others in their faith?
Conclude your time in prayer and silence, reflecting on what God revealed to you today.