But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. Therefore we wanted to come to you–even I, Paul, time and again–but Satan hindered us. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18 (NKJV)
Paul had a great desire to go back to Thessalonica and be with the believers there. Paul not only wanted to see them but he had apparently tried to go see them but was unable. He was unable because Satan hindered him from doing it. According to my commentaries, the word for “hindered” meant to make a cut in a road to make it impassable. So the picture is Paul trying to go back to Thessalonica only to find the road that led there destroyed or maybe the bridge from where he was to where they are blown up. His way was blocked and he was unable to get there. The big thing here is that Satan is the one that blocked his way. I find that just a little disturbing.
We aren’t specifically told what Satan did to hinder Paul from going to them, only that he did. We could speculate what methods Satan used to hinder Paul, but all they would be is speculation. What we can know is that Satan’s purpose was to keep Paul from going to see the Thessalonian Christians. Satan didn’t want Paul to go there and encourage them in their faith. Satan didn’t want Paul to go there and strengthen them in their faith. Satan didn’t want Paul to go there and preach the Gospel. Satan didn’t want Paul to go there and help them grow spiritually. Satan wanted to keep Paul from the Thessalonians and the Thessalonians from Paul.
What Satan did then, he does now. He actively works to keep us from the fellowship of the saints. He wants to keep us from church. How do we prevent ourselves from being hindered by Satan’s roadblock? We recognize his lies for what they are, lies. Think about this.
Who wants us to believe we are too busy to come to church?
Who wants us to be too tired to come to church?
Who wants us to be too discouraged to come to church?
Who wants us to make everything else in the world a greater priority than church?
Certainly, we couldn’t answer Jesus to any of these questions. Many of us are probably familiar with the old Southern Gospel song Excuses that says Satan will provide us with all the excuses we need to stay away from church. While the song itself is kinda corny, there is a lot of truth in it. Satan wants to keep us from Church. We avoid this roadblock by recognizing that it is Satan and not God trying to keep us from church.