Faith and Affliction

Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3

“For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.” 1 Thessalonians 3:4-5

 I’m on my way to an electronic free vacation for 8 wonderful days. As I type the cell signal is waning and I’m aware that we’ll be cut off from the world in the Boundary Waters between Minnesota and Canada. We take this trip every year with our children and my parents and it’s always a beautiful time to deepen our relationship and truly be present with one another.  When I read 1 Thessalonians 3 today, I really connected with the Thessalonian people. There were no cell phones or face time for them to connect with Paul to seek counsel or encouragement.  Instead there was simply distance. Silence. As I head up north I’m aware that I’ll have the opportunity to experience that distance and silence in the next week. We’ve had some really difficult life circumstances leading up to this trip. We’ve had those moments of “why us, God” in fact the phrase we’ve heard most often lately is, “you guys just can’t catch a break can you!” But here is, right here from Christ’s apostle Paul: we kept telling you…we were to suffer affliction…and it has come to pass.  Sometimes, I think as Christian’s we have the attitude that we are not meant to suffer since we are His chosen ones. When things get dark in our lives, it’s easy to come undone and focus on the unfairness of it all. But Paul tells us here in verse 5 that it’s our tempter that encourages us to doubt God’s sovereignty in these moments.

This short chapter from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is a powerful reminder to us that our Father is all powerful, all knowing and loves us unconditionally. We can show Him our commitment and obedience to Him by honoring Him and trusting in Him in our darkest times. It’s not an easy task. But just as Paul rejoiced in the good news that Timothy brought, so will our Father rejoice in our unwavering faith. As I sit by the water and breathe in His stillness, I’ll pray for you and your dark hours. I’ll pray for all of you that your endurance in your faith and commitment to Him will stay strong even in the hardest times. I’m grateful to this community for giving me an opportunity to write so that I too may be strengthened by the knowledge that our faith multiplies when we are together and encouraging one another in our Christian journey.

Peace and love to you readers