Faithful God, Fearful Followers

Read: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

When I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. (v. 5)

As parents, we love, teach, guide, and mentor our children and, when it is time, release them into the world—only to circle back in a panic to check on them again and again, afraid, like Paul, that our good work was in vain and the tempter has tempted beyond endurance. When my children went to college, I made regular pilgrimages to visit them. Sure, I missed them, but I was also afraid. Afraid that their bathrooms were health hazards, that they ate only Doritos, that they forgot about classes, never washed their hands, and disowned Jesus. Stepping into their dorms, my eyes took in every detail hoping to lessen my fear.

It gives me comfort that Paul suffered similar anxiety. He sent Timothy to check on the Thessalonians because he feared for this young church. Had the tempter gotten to them? Had Paul’s work been in vain? When Timothy returned with glowing reports of their faith and love, Paul rejoiced, gratefully entrusting their future spiritual growth and strength to a faithful Lord.

I am fearful and God is faithful. I am grateful that the Holy Spirit had more influence over my daughters during those years than any instruction I could give them. I fear it was never my work in the first place. Thank God! —Jill English

As you pray, ask God for strength to release your fears and trust in God’s faithful work.

About the Author

Jill English is the Director of Admissions at Western Theological Seminary.

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