10/12 1 Thessalonians 3:3

3 . . . that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.

Paul had to leave Thessalonica shortly after arriving because of the persecution that took place. The converts who had just become a local church continued to be persecuted by the people of that city. The early Christians would not offer incense to other gods or pray to them, so when natural calamities happened, the town would blame Christians. Paul was concerned that those who were new to the faith might not be able to withstand the afflictions and would go back to their old ways. He sent Timothy to encourage and disciple them.

Our verse today tells us that affliction is a normal part of the Christian life. Some people promote Christianity as a joy-filled life of bliss. That is only half the story. It is joy in the midst of suffering, because this world is not our home.

All humans suffer in one way or another. The unbeliever may live it up, but then why do the wealthiest and the most famous take their lives? It is not enough to say it is mental illness. It is spiritual dissatisfaction. That is its own type of suffering that is meant to lead people to wholeness in Jesus. Believers' sufferings are refining us and helping us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. It is our destiny.

Remember: Our light and momentary afflictions are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory to which nothing in this world can compare (2 Corinthians 4:17).