“And you became imitators (μιμηταὶ) of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.” (1 Thess 1: 6-8)

Interestingly, that’s how God’s “word“ planted in us seems to grow, and to be particularly fruitful: “in much affliction“ and “with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.“ When I stay close to God’s word, and focus on His voice in my life, then these two go hand-in-hand. I mean, “affliction“ and “joy.“ From a Christ-less perspective, that doesn’t make much “sense,“ but that’s the way things work on the cross-carrying journey. Our difficulties and trials, when we walk through them in faith, turn to gold in our spiritual “house.“ That is to say, we carry them with us in the form of wisdom and also increased compassion for other people, who might need an encouraging word under similar circumstances.

I have a difficult day ahead of me today, so I ask for the prayers of anyone who may read this. Lord, help us stay close to You, as You always are to us, that Your word may grow and bring fruit in us, and “sound forth“ in our midst, and that we don’t get distracted by the fruitlessness of words merely-human.