17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while—in person, not in spirit—were all the more eager with great desire to see your face .… 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy (1 Thessalonians 2).
The phrase “having been taken away” comes from one word with a general meaning of “being torn away from” in the sense of an unwanted separation. More specifically, it can mean “to bereave of a parent or parents” or to make someone an orphan. In other words, Paul is implying that being separated from the Thessalonians makes him feel like a parent who has been torn away from his children, making them orphans.
The bond between parent and child is one of the strongest bonds that exists—if not the strongest. For a small child such a bond is everything, and supplies meaning, identity, and security. This is why Paul says they are his “hope … joy … crown of exultation … glory and joy.” What a beautiful picture of a bond between believers!
Lord, thank You for the deep spiritual bond we can have with other believers. Help us This Day not to take them for granted. Amen.