Not as Planned
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 (NIV)
17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
Sometimes we have our plans and we expect these plans to follow-through. For a sales organization, there may be a sales goal to reach. For a construction site for a condo, the crew should have been finished pouring concrete on the 15th floor. We all agree that goals are needed in order to stay on target, but sometimes things don’t always go as planned.
I see Paul in this passage having a strong desire to reunite with his brothers and sisters in Thessalonica. He planned many times and he said that he wanted to come to them, again and again, but Satan blocked their way. Paul was steadfast in his faith and it doesn’t seem like he was complaining to God on why God wouldn’t make his path to visit the Church easier. Instead, he saw it as an obstacle from Satan and wrote a letter to the Church.
Regardless, we see the character of Paul and how much he cared for the people in the Church. Perhaps this was God’s plan so that he could write this type of letter which can inspire future generations of the care that an elder or leader in the Church should have for distant congregations.