SEASONS OF TESTING

Scripture Reading: Revelation 2:8-11

“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

The people in the church at Smyrna were undergoing a time of intense persecution. Jesus was preparing them for more suffering — “Do not fear what you are about to suffer.” Jesus taught that we will all face times of tribulation while we are in this world — “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world.

We must be prepared for seasons of trouble. We live in this fallen world where suffering and pain are common to all. We must also realize that Satan brings difficulties and tribulation on us as well. We will all face times of suffering, pain, tribulation, and hardships. But we do not have to fear when we go through these times. Our Savior is with us and He will strengthen us so that we can remain faithful to Him. And remember the central message of the book of Revelation — Jesus wins and so will we!

Jesus made it clear to the church at Smyrna that they were facing a season of testing — “that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation.” God allows His people to be tested — “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

When we remain faithful during time of testing, God receives the glory. It is the Lord who enable us to remain faithful, even unto death — “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Times of testing enable us to grow spiritually — “In this you greatly rejoice, even now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6,7).

Jesus will sustain us during seasons of suffering and He will ultimately deliver us from all suffering — “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 5:10,11).

Lord Jesus, enable me to be prepared for seasons of suffering. I know that I will face times of difficulty and hardship. Grant me grace to remain faithful to You during these times. I know that You are with me in them and that You will strengthen me to face whatever comes my way.

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