“Do you have any idea how very homesick we became for you, dear friends?”

How we all long to gather together as God’s family face to face. Whether in Zambia, or Guinea, Rwanda, the UK or the United States, we feel fenced off and missing the joy of being physically with one another as a church family.

As I’ve been reading 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Paul’s deep love and affection for the Thessalonians has surprised me anew. (Take time to read and watch for his affection for them!) And it reminded me how Paul was so often physically separated from brothers and sisters he was so fond of—like we are. Listen to his heart as he writes from 350 miles and months away:

“Do you have any idea how very homesick we became for you, dear friends? Even though it hadn’t been that long and it was only our bodies that were separated from you, not our hearts, we tried our very best to get back to see you. You can’t imagine how much we missed you! I, Paul, tried over and over to get back, but Satan stymied us each time.” 1 Thessalonians 2.17-18 (The Message Bible)

And so because he could not gather with the Thessalonians face to face (in this case because of Satan’s work) Paul didn’t grumble or complain-instead, he wrote them a letter. All of his letters are evidence of this—written to believers he was fenced off from by many miles and often months and sometimes years. And yet God powerfully continued to work and speak and encourage and challenge these believers in Jesus even though they were apart.

God continues to do this even we are are homesick for one another, each time we open His Word and carefully read, pray to our Heavenly Father. And as we fellowship and listen to God’s Word with our churches and home groups over Zoom or FaceBook.