November 6

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10

…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

This verse from Revelation must have been a hard prophecy for the believers in Smyrna to receive – that things were going to get worse and they would have to suffer prison and tribulation. The Lord did not offer them any way to avoid this path of suffering, but the consolation He did offer them was twofold. First, there would be a time limit on this time of testing; and God comforts us by assuring us that our sufferings are for a season, and will not last for ever. This is vital to grasp, since when we suffer we quickly forget times when things were easier, and lose hope that they will one day be better again. God has further promised us, in this verse from 1 Corinthians, that we will never be tested beyond what we are able to bear. The second consolation is the promise of the crown of life – that is, the laurel wreath worn by winners in the Olympic Games – the crown of the one who has persevered and won. It is the promise of standing in God’s Presence with the unspeakable joy of His approval. God asks one thing – that we are faithful until death, i.e. all through life’s journey, and willing ultimately to lay down our lives for Him. A disciple who has looked the possibility of death in the face has no further enemy they can fear. Nothing can truly trouble us once we have found in Jesus the strength to go through every test, trusting firmly in Him.