2 Thessalonians 1:1-4
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
For the church in Thessalonica, things were going from bad to worse. Persecution had intensified, so much so that Paul decided to write a second letter to them, to encourage them in their faith. And he starts by telling them that he proudly tells all the other churches about their endurance and faithfulness in the persecution and hardships they experienced.
I imagine Paul saying to a church, “you know that church in Thessalonica, they are really suffering, I’m so proud of them”. Thanks Paul.
When we hear of churches and believers overcoming and gaining victory, we celebrate that, and give thanks to God for what he has done. When we hear of churches and people being persecuted, we pray for them and ask God to bring that to an end. And we should. But Paul also understands how important it is for us to know that in our troubles, that we are not alone.
No matter how bad it seems, our troubles are not unique. Believers have always gone through periods of persecution and trouble. And they have endured. They have remained faithful. Paul’s encouragement not just to the church in Thessalonica, but all churches, is that we also can remain faithful, we also can endure. As believers, we are in “life” together.
Satan loves to try to isolate us, to make us feel all alone. If that happens, it’s easy for us to give up. But in the whole church family there is strength. It’s not that “misery loves company” instead “a person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.” There is strength in numbers, strength in community.
If you are feeling alone, going through trials and troubles, know that you are not alone. Be strengthened and encouraged, the whole church family is with you.
Written by Andrew Martin