‘That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.’ — 1 Thessalonians 3:3
Paul’s time at Thessalonica was brief. He had to leave quickly due to persecution (1 Thess 2:17; Acts 17:10). After a hasty departure, Paul and the other missionaries were worried about the Thessalonians. They had told them that they were appointed to afflictions and that they should suffer tribulation.
Just as they said, tribulations came to pass (1 Thess 3:4) and this caused them to worry even more about the Thessalonians. Thankfully, after a visit from Timothy, they found out that the Thessalonian believers were standing firm in their faith. This brought Paul and his fellow workers great joy and comfort (1 Thess 3:6-9).
We need to understand that we will face affliction and tribulation. It is not a matter of if but when. We also need to realise that God’s grace is sufficient to help us through. And when we stand firm through trials, we are a great encouragement to other Christians. If we crumble and stop trusting God in trials, it can have a devastating impact on others’ faith.
May God help us to expect trials, to persevere in trials, and to rejoice as we watch others endure afflictions.