“…that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this“
The word “for” establishes the reason why duress should not shake the faith of believers: this is in God’s divine design for them.
you yourselves know
The Thessalonians knew they would face tribulation because Paul told them when he was in Thessalonica that they would face it (3:4). Paul leveled with them that they would meet such things if they became Christians. He never misrepresented the difficulty in becoming a Christian. He never painted a rosy picture of a bed of ease. The Christian life demands confrontation. True Christianity is not convenient. The brand of Christianity in the first century cost something.
that we are appointed to this
We can translate the word “appointed” by the word “ordained.” God ordains us to affliction. When people become Christians, they receive a new kind of trouble. Affliction is God’s appointment for us. God places affliction strategically in our lives for our personal growth. This is God’s destiny for us that comes by His divine design.
Affliction is God’s appointment for us. Trial is no accident. We can clearly see the folly of trying to evade persecutions. This was the appointed path of the Thessalonians. The word “appointed” here does not refer to past eternity but to present time. The Christian life being what it is and the godless world being what it is, makes afflictions and persecution certain. God says, “I have an appointment for you with affliction.” We make appointments regularly. This is an appointment that I would prefer not to keep!
“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me” (Philippians 1:29-30).
“For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…” (1 Peter 2:20-21).
Affliction is in the plan and will of God for the believer.
Some of us might say, “What did I ever do to deserve this pain in my life. What did I do wrong?” It may be that you did not do anything wrong. This is just one of the by-products of being the child of the King. You say, “I don’t like these side-effects of Christianity.” A disciple is someone under discipline. God appoints trial into our lives so that we will become more disciplined in the things of God.
“Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).