A former missionary to China is remembered to have often spoken with deep affection of his brothers and sisters in Christ, wondering how they were faring after he was obliged to return home. That is the kind of affection that Paul has for the people at the church in Thessalonica. He has been separated from them, but his heart is still with them. He loved them! And so he endeavored to encourage them. He spoke of his hope for them, and of their acceptance by God. He had a desire to see them again and again, but he had been hindered by the activity of Satan.
We, too, should have a desire to be with the people of God, and to share that bond of close relationship that is centered in Christ. How awful it is when the devil keeps God's people apart, and puts them at odds with each other! In John 13, we see a picture of the love that Jesus had for His disciples. Our loving one another is a mark that we are united with Christ.
A good question for us to honestly ask ourselves today is this: Do we love the brethren like Jesus and Paul did? Let's pray for grace to imitate them!