Once again, Paul shows his pastor’s heart. When he could bear no longer not having news of the Thessalonian believers, he sent Timothy to check on them. Worried about the church, Paul was greatly comforted when Timothy brought good news: “But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you--for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith” (3:6-7).
Greatly concerned but now greatly comforted. I once read an article about a study that reported that, for women in the study, the greatest emotion was that of relief. That might sound strange, but think about it. You are expecting bad news. Maybe you are distraught at the impending bad news. You just know it’s coming. And, then, wallah, you receive good news and all your fears are allayed! What joy was Paul’s: “For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God!” (3:9)
How sweet, how heav’nly is the sight,
When those that love the Lord
In one another's peace delight,
And thus fulfill His word.
When each can feel each brother’s sigh,
And with him bear a part;
When sorrow flows from eye to eye,
And joy from heart to heart.
When free from envy, scorn and pride,
Our wishes all above,
Each can his brother’s failings hide,
And show a brother's love. –Joseph Swain (1810)