The Apostle Paul never sugar coated the Christian life. Throughout Scripture, he told of the many hardships he faced in the ministry. These included receiving 39 lashes five times at the hands of the Jews. 40 was considered a death sentence. He was brutally beaten three times with rods, once stoned, three times shipwrecked. There were many other dangers he encountered along with hunger and thirst. Besides all this, he carried the surmountable burden of caring for all the churches. Do you ever wonder how the Apostle Paul found encouragement to continue in the faith despite horrendous suffering?
One answer to that question is revealed to us in the 1 Thessalonians verses above. Paul’s heart’s desire was to see the lost saved and the converts growing in the faith. When Paul, Timothy, and Silas preached in the Thessalonian synagogue for three consecutive Sabbaths, several believed the gospel (Acts 17:4. After the conversions, Jewish opponents instigated riots that forced Paul and his companions to leave Thessalonica prematurely. Paul longed to see them again face to face to ensure their labors there weren’t in vain.
Therefore, he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica. When Timothy returned, he told Paul that the church was growing. This brought Paul great joy, comfort, and all the motivation he needed to continue.
If you are struggling with your calling, God can provide you proof of your faith in action for His kingdom. All you have to do is ask.
Dear Father, may we be one in that army that refuses to retreat regardless of the onslaught of Satan and those who are the enemies of the cross. May you use our steadfast faith to encourage others to stand fast as they face afflictions in a world system often hostile to Christians. Thank you that you provide us proof that we are in your will. Amen.
Go Deeper — Search online for “stories of martyrs.” Or read about a few from the book Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs. Let the accounts of selfless men and women, such as Paul, be an encouragement to you as you continue in your walk of faith.
Photo Credit: Alex Radelich