The Assurance of Afflictions (I Thessalonians 3:3-4)
I Thessalonians 3:3-4, “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”
Over 100 years ago, a tornado struck the prairies of Minnesota. Many were killed, hundreds were injured, and one small town was almost demolished. In the midst of the disaster, an elderly British surgeon and his two medically-trained sons worked almost around the clock for days aiding the stricken, bandaging wounds, and setting broken limbs. Their heroic work did not go unnoticed. Their excellence as physicians and their selflessness in the service of those in need created a following among the tornado victims. The doctor and his sons were offered financial backing to build a hospital, provided that they took charge. The men agreed and in 1889 founded a clinic that soon attracted nationwide attention. Their little clinic grew. The city was Rochester, Minnesota. The elderly doctor's name was William W. Mayo. His sons were William J. and Charles Mayo. Their clinic is simply called "The Mayo Clinic." It now consists of 63,000 doctors, scientists, and health staff treating more than 1.3 million people a year from 50 states and 150 countries. It is known worldwide as one of the premier places of health, healing, and excellence in medicine. I'm sure if you asked the citizens of Minnesota about the Rochester tornado at the time, they would have said it was all about death and destruction, and unqualified disaster. But put in the perspective of more than a century, and in the hands of a creative God, the tornado was really about life, help, healing, and purpose. Out of the trial came great blessing. These men had a great purpose and have been used of God to help millions of people. Many of the patients they have cured are dedicated Christians. Their labors continue to this day. Great blessings do come from fulfilling God's purpose for your life.
When Paul was with the Thessalonians, he warned them they would suffer tribulation, and they did. Paul's concern was that they stand fast in the faith. He said that no “man should be moved”. He did not want a single believer to become a causality. Paul mentioned here the certainty of trials which he warned these Christians about. They knew afflictions were coming. The apostle mentioned here that our trials are appointed. The word “appointed” carries the idea of something that cannot be changed or altered. It has been laid out for you for a reason.
The tribulation Paul speaks of is from the hands of sinful man. The church of Jesus Christ has always suffered at the hands of sinful man. This tribulation has taken place throughout every century. Mankind has always been opposed to the church and there has always been persecution against the church. This word does not refer to the tribulation that is coming from the hands of Holy God. The tribulation Paul speaks of is from the hands of sinful man. The church of Jesus Christ has always suffered at the hands of sinful man. This tribulation has taken place throughout every century. Mankind has always been opposed to the church and there has always been persecution against the church. This word does not refer to the tribulation that is coming from the hands of Holy God.
Trials and afflictions are going to come your way (James 1:2-4). Trials are not accidents. They are on your horizon and mine. When they arrive, it does not mean you have done something wrong. God, however, may have something else planned for you with the trial. Paul warned in II Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Godly people do go through trials. Trials are still difficult for us. I’m sure that it was not fun at all for Job or Joseph to go through the intense problems they faced, but in the end, God bestowed great blessing upon these men. These men, for thousands of years, have been good examples and teachers about the issue of trouble and trials. They have taught us lessons with their lives as well as with their responses to their trials.
Paul was encouraging the church to hang tough and be faithful to the Lord Jesus. None of us ask for or request afflictions to come to us, afflictions are just part of living for Jesus. When we go through afflictions, we do not need to get bitter at God or give up on serving Him. Instead, when we go through afflictions, we need to ask God what He is doing in and through these afflictions in our lives. God allows them in our lives for a reason and purpose. Without establishment and encouragement in the faith we will be shaken by the afflictions of life. Afflictions come in all forms. Physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual afflictions always come to faithful servants of God. Understanding that the Lord knows about your trials and has a purpose for them should cause you and me to rest in what He is trying to accomplish in our lives. That is where our faith comes into play. Will we trust Him? Will we rest in Him? If we do, our faith is strengthened more. When we face opposition, we need to stand strong in the power of His might.
Questions to Consider:
Are we keeping our eyes on Jesus?
Are we remaining strong in trials?
Do we remember the admonition about trials?
Has our faith wavered in the face of adversity?
Points to Ponder:
Nowhere in the Bible are we promised that because we are Christians, our lives will be problem-free.
We are destined to have afflictions.
We shouldn’t get all shook up when trials come, even severe ones, because they are appointments—not accidents.
Knowing that we do not go through anything without the Lord Jesus should encourage all Christians to remain strong in trials.
If this post has blessed you in any way,
please share this website and its articles with others:
Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.