The special purpose of the next movement in his letter was the strengthening of the Thessalonians in their sufferings. Their "work of faith" had brought them into a place of service which entailed suffering. In this connection, the apostle makes personal reference to having sent Timothy to them, while he was left alone in Athens. Whereas Athens was a burden on his heart, his love for the Thessalonians prompted him to this action. Timothy had brought him a message telling of their "faith and love that filled him with gladness." In view of this loyalty he again referred to the great light of hope, the coming of the Lord, praying that his way might be directed to them, and that they might abound in love.
Thus in the midst of their suffering the apostle's words flashed on them the light of that glorious moment when character would be perfected, and the stress and strain of the process pass into the perfect realization of a glorious result. At the advent of the Master all the aspirations of the believing soul toward perfection of character would be realized and fulfilled. Toward that glorious finality all present life should move, and waiting for the Son which creates the "patience of hope" is thus seen to be the most profound and potent inspiration to holiness of life and character.
the Third Sunday after Epiphany