So when we couldn't stand being separated from you any longer and could find no way to visit you ourselves, we stayed in Athens
and sent Timothy to get you up and about, cheering you on so you wouldn't be discouraged by these hard times. He's a brother and companion in the faith, God's man in spreading the Message, preaching Christ.
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. And now that it's happened, you know what it's like.
That's why I couldn't quit worrying; I had to know for myself how you were doing in the faith. I didn't want the Tempter getting to you and tearing down everything we had built up together.
But now that Timothy is back, bringing this terrific report on your faith and love, we feel a lot better. It's especially gratifying to know that you continue to think well of us, and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you!
In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you're doing keeps us going.
Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive.
What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience before him because of you?
We do what we can, praying away, night and day, asking for the bonus of seeing your faces again and doing what we can to help when your faith falters.
May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you!
And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.
May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)