17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
We’ve all been in situations where we longed to be somewhere else to see someone we haven’t seen in a long time.
Many years ago while we lived in Chicago, my wife took an orthotics internship in Ann Arbor Michigan. We planned on every other weekend for me to drive out there to be with her. Have you ever driven through Chicago in rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon? What would normally be a 4+ hour drive in open traffic easily turned into 5 or 6 hours. Even if I tried to time the traffic, I would still add an hour to the commute. I remember the frustration and anxiousness of wanting to see more than the bumper in front of me and how I probably broke a variety of Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan traffic laws to get to her at a reasonable hour. I longed to get out of traffic, off the road and be with my wife. It made my whole week to be able to get to spend time with her.
This is probably the sentiment Paul was talking about in this passage. They were his pride and joy. For whatever reason he couldn’t be with them but let them know his passion for them.
We, of course, think of this kind of passion in a romantic setting, and with the Covid virus, people are longing for this kind of fellowship. Just before I started writing this, a Barbershopper friend of mine wrote and asked when we were going to sing again, and can we do it in a church setting? While he didn’t have the passion I had on the Chicago-Ann Arbor route, I sensed the urge to get out again and get to singing and chatting.
Especially now, if you’re in a State that allows face to face interaction, do it more than you do now. Step away from the computer and TV, and get out often. It’s healthy and therapeutic.