READ I Thessalonians 3:1-10
“WE ARE APPOINTED TO THIS”
Key text: “that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this” (I Thessalonians 3:3 NKJV)
Paul in 1 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “we are appointed to this.” What was he referring to? What are we appointed to? The NLT editions render it this way, “and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles.” (1 Thessalonians. 3:3 NLT). The word “appointed” or “destined” seem to suggest something that was planned ahead of time, something that is inevitable, which we must go through or experience.
Paul was referring to the trials, tribulations, sufferings for the sake of Christ which as Christians they went through (Acts 9:16; 14:22; 26: 16-18). Are tough times inevitable in life? Are we destined to experience COVID-19? Are the aftershocks or effects of COVID-19 inevitable? These are debatable questions, which we will continue to discuss all through life. But none would doubt that we are right in the midst of tough times caused by the pandemic. The challenge before us now is how to wade through the crisis of COVID-19 and come out stronger at the end of the period.
Then in verse 4, Paul further said they were warned about the imminent trials, tribulations, and sufferings they were to go through. “Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know” (1 Thessalonians 3:4 NLT). The Bible had forewarned us about difficult times in these last days. So, there is no gainsaying that COVD-19 is one of the many crises that have been predicted long before now. Make no mistake COVID-19 will not be the end of trials and sufferings in the world. Matthew 24:7 say, there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
Paul felt encouraged by the attitude of the Thessalonians to the difficulties they went through. As he further writes, “So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:7 NLT). What sustained the Thessalonians through the trials and difficulties they went through was their faith in God. Once more, this highlights the importance of faith. We can only go through these hard times by having faith in God.
He further commended the Thessalonians for their joy and for standing firm in the face of the trials they went through. “It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence.” (1 Thessalonians 3:8-9 NLT). In other words, they were not overwhelmed by the problems they went through. Despite the problems, they stood firm in Christ. How you go through these times matter a great deal! It will serve to encourage or discourage others.
PRAYER: LORD, strengthen me to go through these tough times in faith and joy.