1 Thessalonians 2:13-20 New International Version (NIV)
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.[a]
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.
Thurs. December 3
When Paul had come to the Thessalonians he had suffered the rejection of his own people, the Jews. When the Thessalonians received the Gospel proclamation from Paul and believed they also experienced rejection (1 Thes. 2:14). Faith in Jesus is not a recipe for success in life. It is not a way to gain a better reputation or climb the social ladder. Faith might actually have serious consequences. We might lose relationships and suffer ridicule. Our friends might think we are silly for going to church on a Sunday morning. Our family might think we are crazy for giving thousands of dollars to a church or volunteering countless hours to teach Sunday School or serve at a funeral. Faith in Jesus leads us to do things that do not make sense to others. Faith is not easy and it might actually bring suffering. It is important that we do not deceive ourselves. God does not promise an easy or comfortable life. But God does promise forgiveness, love, mercy, and eternal life.