The “whom” Paul mentions here was Tychicus, who was a fellow minister, who was sent to the people of Ephesus to bring news of Paul. This was long before the days of phone calls and emails, so Paul had to have a way to communicate with these people. Messengers such as Tychicus were often used to communicate messages between Churches in that time. Paul has been imprisoned in Rome and surely the churches where he has preached wondered about his welfare. Tychicus, would have brought a measure of comfort to these people who had formed relationship with Paul. To know that he was surviving, almost thriving, through his trials would have brought them great comfort, as would the letters that Tychicus would have brought them from Paul. Even today, letters from missionaries to their home churches are encouraging. Such letters give those who are unable to go into the field a chance to encourage and pray for those who are giving their lives in the mission fields.
And we pray:
Father, thank You for sending messengers to us to lift us up and encourage us when we worry. Thank You for taking care of Your people, no matter their location or their circumstances, Amen.
In Philippians 4:6, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And then in Philippians 4:19 (just 13 verses later), he gives the liberating promise of future grace: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
If we live by faith in this promise of future grace, it will be very hard for anxiety to survive. God’s “riches in glory” are inexhaustible. He really means for us not to worry about our future.
We should follow this pattern that Paul lays out for us. We should battle the unbelief of anxiety with the promises of future grace.
When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I regularly battle unbelief with one of my most often-used promises, Isaiah 41:10.
The day I left America for three years in Germany my father called me long distance and gave me this promise on the telephone. For three years I must have quoted it to myself five hundred times to get me through periods of tremendous stress. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I have fought anxiety with this promise so many times that when the motor of my mind is in neutral, the hum of the gears is the sound of Isaiah 41:10.