ImageThey say “absence makes the heart grow fonder” but is this really true? In Paul’s case it was definite “yes.” Having been sent away hurriedly in the night, Paul yearned to know how his fledgling Thessalonian flock was enduring, were they being steadfast in their faith? Paul had a choice; he could either forgo finding out or he could send Timothy, who looked more like a Greek than he, back into the “lion’s den,” or he could just continue to wonder. He chose to send Timothy.

Returning from Thessalonica, Timothy invigorated Paul’s spirit and renewed his passion. The Thessalonians were demonstrating a steadfast spirit amidst persecutions and afflictions. They had not been compromised but had held fast to their faith. Sometimes we too wonder if our flock has caught more than taught; are their hearts not only challenged but continuing to meet that challenge and beyond. These Thessalonians were “rugged like a tree, hard and sound to the core” [H. Rider Haggard] and their roots had descended deep into the Word of God. What a blessing they were to Paul!

Paul reminded the Thessalonians once again that they were destined to suffer just as Christ had suffered. It was not a perhaps but a surety and as his glory and joy they were being tested by fire and coming forth as gold for persecution offers insight into the truth that dwells within us. As Paul listened to Timothy’s report, he was encouraged by their faith and love, their kind thoughts of their teacher Paul, and their hearts desire to rekindle their friendship.  With this in mind, Paul breaks forth into praise and worship in prayer.

Today my heart is heavy for the flock we left behind when we moved to Dallas to head up the ministry’s leadership team. It was not too longer after we left them that I endured what Paul described and when I could endure it no longer, my dear hubby got me a plane ticket and sent me back to check in on them.The fellowship was sweet, their comments endearing but their faith was faltering. I was saddened. I told them once again that they were our glory and joy and to not give up. I know that one day in glory we will be reunited and our flocks will be joyful and jubilant for we will see them face to face and He will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

Today, perhaps you too are longing for a renewed friendship that you have since lost contact with for one reason or another. Are you like Paul unable to endure the separation any longer? In our hi-tech world you and I have no excuse. We have internet capabilities, text messaging, skype as well as the old-fashioned snail mail. What is keeping you and I from re-connecting? Ben Franklin once said: “You may delay but time will not and lost time is never found again.” Perhaps it is at this time that we live by this: Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today. Let’s pick up the phone, write an email, jot a text message.

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