Paul was deeply concerned for the Thessalonians and so longed to see them that he sacrificed the valued presence of Timothy in order to check in on them, saying, "So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens" (1 Thessalonians 3:1).
Why was Paul worried for the Thessalonian church? He understood Satan's schemes. He knew that Satan would tempt the believers in their time of suffering to fall away from the faith. And he had good cause to be worried because Satan has used this form of attack again and again down through history. I have witnessed this form of satanic attack with my own eyes. Believers, when going through a time of intense trial, are tempted by Satan to think—
Don't let Satan have victory over you. Keep trusting God with your eyes of faith.
"God doesn't love me."
"God has abandoned me."
"God is not hearing my prayers."
"God does not care about my sufferings."
When our thoughts go in that direction, our relationship with God can become cold and distant. We don't abandon the faith, but we just go through the motions of being Christians. We no longer see God as a loving Father. Instead, we see Him as distant and remote—perhaps even as an abusive parent. We won't lose our salvation, but we will lose our joy and our confidence in the Lord. We'll lose our trust in His promises. We'll lose the peace of mind that only God can give. We'll lose a sense of warm fellowship with God.
If you are going through a painful time of trial, I want you to know that God loves you. He hears your prayers, and He's answering them, even though you may not see the answer right now with your physical eyes. Don't let Satan have this victory over you. Keep trusting God with your eyes of faith.
Prayer: Lord, help me to trust You. Grant me Your eternal vision, remembering my hope is in You. May Your Gospel—Your powerful love for me—protect me from the temptation to doubt Your care. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
*Excerpt adapted from Fearless Living in Troubled Times by Michael Youssef © 2017. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.