Reflect on all the news you have received that makes you rejoice in God
1 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Worrying can be a great stimulus to praying. Good news, however leads to thankfulness and greater confidence in prayer. With the news brought by Timothy, Paul’s anxiety is removed and he has evidence that the work in Thessalonica is solidly grounded. Paul’s emotional engagement with their situation flows through into his enjoyment of God himself in prayer. This news does not lessen Paul’s desire to see these believers again, but now it is with a renewed direction of what he can do to help them further in their Christian growth. Accurate information can give content to our general prayers for people distant from us, but, if it not coupled with the emotional engagement that is demonstrated in Paul, it can lead to shopping-list praying.
Paul’s prayers for the churches he has planted have many common themes working through them. He is concerned that love should characterise all their dealings with each other and other people. In this he is echoing the command of Jesus to his disciples. The comment by Tertullian around AD 200 that outsiders noted how much Christians love each other is an indication of the recognition that love is to characterise Christians and to be major part of our witness to the world. Can the same be said about us today?
Repeatedly Paul looks forward to the day when Jesus comes again. He expects to glory in the presence of God because of the Thessalonians; he prays that they may be holy and blameless on that day; he expects to see judgement falling on those who oppose the message. Most Western Christians toady do not have this perspective at the front of our thoughts. But the knowledge that at the last day all wrongs will be righted and wicked punished keeps us focused on gospel proclamation
In the midst of injustice and wickedness, let us rest in the certainty of God’s eternal justice.