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Devotional: May 5, 2020

But now that Timothy is back, bringing this terrific report on your faith and love, we feel a lot better. It’s especially gratifying to know that you continue to think well of us, and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you! In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive.

What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience before Him because of you? We do what we can, praying away, night and day, asking for the bonus of seeing your faces again and doing what we can to help when your faith falters.

First Thessalonians 3: 6-10 The Message


The Apostle Paul had planted the church at Thessalonica. However his missionary journeys prevented him from staying there. Even though the people of this church were miles away from him, they were always near and dear to his heart.


So, what did Paul do to bridge the distance? He wrote at least two letters to the church. He also sent his friend Timothy to check on his friends there. At the beginning of chapter three, we read of Paul’s incredible joy over hearing the positive report Timothy brought back to him.

What strikes me about this passage is the mutual encouragement Paul and the church are able to offer to one another, in spite of the distance between them. Paul writes a very encouraging letter to the people of the church, and their faith, in turn, encourages Paul.

Throughout history, there have been many times when people could not be with family or friends. Wars, job transfers, or moving from town to town for various reasons. Being unable to be with someone is really not new to our world. Yet today, the restrictions to be physically apart from one another feel very different. Often, the people we miss are literally right around the corner.

Paul was physically separated from the people he loved. Yet that separation did not keep him from encouraging and lifting up those he missed in prayer and through writing. Like Paul, we need to follow his lead. We need to communicate with family and friends. In notes, emails, phone calls, or even on a Zoom gathering. These communication methods are not the same as being in the physical presence of one another, but they are still a great way to keep in touch. We also need to follow Paul’s example in prayer. Each of us needs to pray for our family, our friends, the first responders, and all those in positions of leadership. Like other churches, we may be “socially distanced,” but we are still the church!


Prayer


Ever-present God,

We thank you for being Lord of all: of every time, of every place, and of every situation. Keep our hearts focused upon You, keep our minds fed by Your word, and keep our will to be connected together strong. We lift up all those in our hearts to You this day, as we pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen



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