We couldn’t endure it any longer. I couldn’t  endure it any longer.

What kinds of trials do you imagine after reading such statements? In our society I see these declarations made after describing a loveless marriagean unsatisfying job… or a frustrating political conversation. I say it to justify ranting at my messy family! 🙂

However, I pulled these sentences from another time. They are quotes from a man who had been beaten,

stoned,

                  starved,

                                     shipwrecked,

                                                                    left in the cold naked,

                                                                                                                       whipped repeatedly, and who was despised by his former friends and family.

 

But he’s not complaining about any of those things.

 

No, the thing he could no longer endure was wondering how his spiritual children in another city were doing. He couldn’t endure the silence. He couldn’t endure not seeing them, not hearing from them.

Listen to the way the Apostle Paul describes his misery while you keep in mind the physical torture he has already lived through:

“We were bereft of you.”

“Eager with great desire to see your face.

We wanted to come to you.”

You are…

our hope,

our joy,

our crown.

You are our glory.

Our joy (repeating).

We were left behind and sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you. We didn’t want you to be disturbed by our afflictions. (Seriously?! ) He goes on… “I feared Satan might have tempted you.”

Uh, I would not be this concerned about someone  if I were facing death by torture.

But Paul receives good news! He’s going to be released! He’s going to be blessed! He’s going to retire to a sunny seaside village and play 18 holes everyday!

No. He’s not. He’s going to die for Christ after several more years of intense physical pain. Yet “in all our distress and affliction” he is comforted. Why? Because he has found out they are standing firm in their faith. In fact, Paul lapses into almost a giddy mood. He declares, “Now we REALLY live.”  Hear the sentiment of verses 9 and 10 of 1Thessalonians:

“What thanks can I give to God for you in return for all the joy with which I rejoice before God because of you? Night and day I keep praying that I may see your face and complete what is lacking in your faith.”  (I changed the pronouns of these verses and paraphrased them – but that is what they are saying.)

So how? How could Paul love like that while bearing in his body such a high cost for following Christ. Here is what you need to understand ~

It’s Christ’s love for YOU that reigns in Paul. The Lord Jesus joyfully endured the cross to see you safely home, and every word Paul writes came straight from His heart. Don’t let Satan fool you. God loves you more than you can fathom.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!