“…therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith“
Verses seven through nine give Paul’s response to Timothy’s report.
The “therefore” draws an inference from verse six.
Paul appeals to the common heritage in Christ that he had with the Thessalonians.
in all our affliction and distress
“Affliction” refers to the pressure and tribulation Paul received from hostile people. As Paul writes First Thessalonians, he is in Corinth facing more problems.
“When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles’” (Acts 18:5-6).
The word “distress” denotes a necessity, calamity or pressure imposed by either inner pressure or external circumstances. Distress refers to the pressure, constraint or necessity of circumstances Paul faced while writing First Thessalonians in Corinth.
we were comforted concerning you by your faith
Timothy’s report brought satisfaction to the souls of the gospel team when they saw the dynamics of the faith of the Thessalonians. The discovery of the sound state of the faith of the Thessalonians made all the difference in the world to Paul. Their faith encouraged Paul. He received renewed spiritual strength when he heard of their healthy spiritual state. This fortified him against pressing distress and crushing affliction he was currently encountering.
In view of this good news, Paul could now move on without the deep concern he had about the church at Thessalonica.
The test of our spiritual character is opposition.
The test of Christian character is opposition. If everything goes our way without opposition, that demonstrates nothing about the quality of our character. How we react to opposition is the real test. Do we lose our cool? Such tests are frequent in the local church. The more people, the more differences of opinion. God sends sharp experiences into our life to test the level of our spirituality. Do we have a dynamic faith that can go beyond the rejection and hostility of other people?
The joy of hearing of the spiritual success of those we lead to Christ always encourages us to bear up under distress in ministry. This always renews our commitment to serve in the face of difficulty.
No man lives to himself and no man dies to himself within the sphere of Christian ministry. When fellow servants within our purview have ups, their ups are our ups. When they encounter downs, their downs are our downs. We weep with them that weep, mourn with them that mourn and rejoice with them that rejoice.