This section of Paul’s letter forces us to ask ourselves some difficult questions. What is our response to anxiety and trial? Do we view trial as our trial – not just mine, not just yours, but ours? How do we respond under pressure? Am I praying? Why do we need to be strengthened? When the church in Thessalonica was facing trial and persecution, Paul sent Timothy to them to strengthen and encourage them. Timothy does this, not by commiserating with the called-out ones, the believers, the church, but by reminding them the Good News – by pointing to Jesus. We can rest assured that trials will come, and when we are hard-pressed, what will come out is what was inside us. Are we focused on Christ? Are we constantly reminding one another about the Good News about our God who put on human flesh and moved into our neighborhood to make the lame walk and the blind see, to release captives, and free the oppressed, who loved us all, even to the point of death, putting our sin on his shoulders and carrying it to the cross? Even better, our Savior didn’t stay dead, but defeated death and ascended to the Father, filling us with the Holy Spirit so that when we are hard-pressed, anything that is not of God is pressed out and blown away like chaff, and we can become even more Christ-like, reflecting even more clearly the image of the One who made us.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:1 - 13