NOT THE EASY ROAD
1 Thess. 3:2-3
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.
We sometimes assume that, because God loves us and has a plan for our lives, that our road will be easy – no pain, no strain. And when trials do come, we assume that we are off the path or have misunderstood God or something of that sort. That is not a biblical assumption. The passage above has several interesting and helpful perspectives. First, Paul is concerned that the believers in Thessalonica might be discouraged by his trials. He isn’t discouraged by them, but is worried about them! Second, he points out that even the trials are part of God’s plan.
Friends, God doesn’t promise that path He has prepared for us won’t take us through the fire. What He does promise is that He will go through the fire with us and that those trials will not thwart His calling or His promise. Consider Isa. 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
The Gospel songwriter, Andrae Crouch, wrote:
I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know that God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do.
Yes, the rocks in the pathway, the obstacles and persecutions we have to face, the storms that we have to weather in the Christian life are included in God’s plan. But so is the solution, the way around or over or through. That is part of God’s plan too. That through it all we learn about the faithfulness and the power and the grace of God.
--- Pastor Keith Andrews