Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Revelation 2:8-11 (NRSV)
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of the first and the last, who was dead and came to life:
“I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death.
I have never suffered the persecution that Christians in other places of our world face daily. Many of them will have to choose whether to live and denounce Christ or suffer death at the hands of their persecutors. How easy would it be for you to remain faithful if doing so meant death or imprisonment?
In this life, affliction and poverty may come to any of us. How we respond to those circumstances may show our true character more than any suffering. We must not take lightly those who are poor in this world. We must not forget about those who are suffering because of Christ.
With what material abundance have you been blessed? How can you share your abundance? What talents do you have that can be used to care for those who suffer? How should we respond? We must remain faithful, share with the poor, and pray for those who are suffering. Turning a blind eye is never an option. Although distance may be a physical hindrance, it does not keep us from praying.
If you are reading these words today and are suffering, there is hope. The grace and love of Christ is real. May God’s love encourage you even in the midst of affliction.
Forgive us for not offering help when it is within our power. Forgive us for not listening and sympathizing with the poor and afflicted. We can only ask for forgiveness and pray for strength to aid those who are suffering in this world. Please comfort those who are persecuted, bring relief for the suffering, and end religious injustice. In the name of Christ. Amen.
Go with God.