Paul was deeply concerned for the Thessalonians and so longed to see them that he sacrificed the valued presence of Timothy in order to check in on them, saying, “So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens” (1 Thessalonians 3:1).

Why was Paul worried for the Thessalonian church? He understood Satan’s schemes. He knew that Satan would tempt the believers in their time of suffering to fall away from the faith. And he had good cause to be worried because Satan has used this form of attack again and again down through history. I have witnessed this form of satanic attack with my own eyes. Believers, when going through a time of intense trial, are tempted by Satan to think—

“God doesn’t love me.”

“God has abandoned me.”

“God is not hearing my prayers.”

“God does not care about my sufferings.”

When our thoughts go in that direction, our relationship with God can become cold and distant. We don’t abandon the faith, but we just go through the motions of being Christians. We no longer see God as a loving Father. Instead, we see Him as distant and remote—perhaps even as an abusive parent. We won’t lose our salvation, but we will lose our joy and our confidence in the Lord. We’ll lose our trust in His promises. We’ll lose the peace of mind that only God can give. We’ll lose a sense of warm fellowship with God.

If you are going through a painful time of trial, I want you to know that God loves you. He hears your prayers, and He’s answering them, even though you may not see the answer right now with your physical eyes. Don’t let Satan have this victory over you. Keep trusting God with your eyes of faith.

Prayer: Lord, help me to trust You. Grant me Your eternal vision, remembering my hope is in You. May Your Gospel—Your powerful love for me—protect me from the temptation to doubt Your care. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

*Excerpt adapted from Fearless Living in Troubled Times by Michael Youssef © 2017. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Until Christ Returns: Living Confidently in Turbulent Times: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW


Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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