WE LONG TO SEE YOU
Thank You, Lord, for presence of those I love and the incredible presence of Your Spirit in me.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17 – 3:5
Paul’s Longing to See the Thessalonians
17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
3 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectRemind yourself of a time when you experienced a joyful reunion with a person or a group of people. What made it so special?
Paul is desperate for news of the Thessalonians. Consider the emotional experience of longing for the physical presence of someone you love, and how Paul captures this here. His emotive language leaves us in no doubt of his devotion to them. He feels ‘torn away’ from them (2:17, ESV), and he has an ‘intense longing’ to see them (2:17). Eventually, he can ‘stand it no longer’ (3:1), but is unable to return to Thessalonica himself (Acts 17:13).
Paul’s longing to see the Thessalonians is intensified because of his delight in them and because of the trials both he and they are facing (3:3–5). What imagery does he use to express his delight (2:19)? Who brings you delight as you think of their faith and their hope in the gospel?
Without the luxury of instant communication, Paul sends Timothy on a mission to find out how they are, and to build them up in their faith (3:2). What does this tell us about how relationships between Christians – both at a distance and within a church community – can be sustained and developed?
Longing for the presence of those we love can help us understand our longing for God. Use Psalm 42 to help you voice your yearning for His presence.
‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God’ (Psalm 42:1).
Father, help me to understand more deeply who I am in You. Help me to understand how much You love all humanity.