… so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4

The Message Bible translates these verses this way, “Not that the troubles should come as any surprise to you. You’ve always known that we’re in for this kind of thing. It’s part of our calling. When we were with you, we made it quite clear that there was trouble ahead.”

Paul taught new believers to expect trouble, “it’s part of our calling.” So did Jesus, he told his disciples quite bluntly, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). The Christian life isn’t about living in such a way as to avoid trouble but rather having a strength in our lives that keeps us at peace during the trouble. Immediately prior to telling his disciples, they will have trouble Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33). Notice it’s “… in me you may have peace.” Not peace in the world but rather we will have the peace of God, “which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) regardless of our situation.

If we give new believers the impression their troubles will be over when they become Christians, it can destroy their faith when problems arise. In the parable of the sower, those believers who quickly fell away when trouble came are described as having no roots (Matthew 13:20-21). We teach new believers like Jesus and Paul did, yes, there will be troubles but we have the resources to cope. God has promised his strength, his peace and his presence to enable us to endure any crisis.