“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who as dead, and has come to life, says this: ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’ Revelation 2:8-11
Sometimes I wonder about the future, not with anticipation, but with some fear and dread. Not very often, because I tend to be optimistic about most things. But, financial difficulty, trouble and tribulation and being maligned or defamation can come upon anyone. The Bible also promises persecution for Christians. At times like this, its normal to wonder “does God see what’s happening”. The Smyrna church was experiencing great tribulation and poverty- and God saw it all. John is reminded by Jesus to tell them so. He goes on to say “do not fear the suffering ahead”. It would be only for a time that God would allow- “ten days”. And lastly, He gave them a reminder that this life is not all there is. A crown of life awaits those faithful until death. The second death- will never hurt the faithful. (second death = separation from God in hell)
How am I feeling about the present and future? How well do I endure suffering, tribulation and persecution?
God, as this day begins- I confess that I have not suffered greatly in my life. You’ve given me the sunny side of the brae. For that I rejoice. Help me be ever mindful of those who hurt and are hurting. Use me to stand up for those being oppressed and the weak. When persecution arises, find me faithful until death. For I will only die once. Prepare me. And prepare a crown.