Do You Suffer Well?

1 Thessalonians 3:4 – 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.

Teaching people how to suffer well is crucial, and the people were well-taught by Paul and applied what they had been told in the fires of daily trials. Paul says this very thing, “when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction…” (3:4). 

Admittedly, how to suffer is not a popular subject and can seem dour or even discouraging. However, since we are in a cursed fallen world run by an Enemy, we need to expect some affliction and be prepared for it. 

This is an amazing report from new Christians who have not seen their pastor in some time but have been suffering for what felt like a long time. The new Christians were obeying what Paul and others had taught them from God’s Word, and he was overjoyed. 

Imagine a parent in the military who is deployed for months, unable to communicate with their family, worried sick about them as some had health struggles, and then they get the good news of a clean bill of health and that the whole family was thriving and you understand something of the tone of 1 Thessalonians 3. This explains Paul’s exuberant statement, “Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love…we have been comforted about you through your faith…you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God…” (3:6-9).

As you read the entire two letters Paul wrote them, you can see the themes of God’s love, the Word of God, the example of Jesus, the power of the Spirit, and caring for one another as a church family as the bonds that hold them together in joy. 

Are there any things in your life that currently are a distress or affliction? How has your response been and how can it improve?

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