A Suffering Church

Cecil Martens

READ : Revelation 2:8-11

January, 1956. Five American missionaries felt called of God to reach the Auca Indians in Ecuador with the gospel. After much preliminary planning, the big day arrived. They landed their small Piper airplane on the white sand of the Curaray River, and committed themselves and all their carefully laid plans to the Lord. By 4:30 that Sunday afternoon the quiet waters of the Curaray flowed over the bodies of the five comrades, slain by the men they had come to win for Christ. They suffered death, and their families deep grief.

Jesus suffered death at the hands of his persecutors and then was resurrected from the grave (2:8). The living Lord knew the severe suffering experienced by the Christians in Smyrna (v. 9). There was affliction, serious trouble, burdens that crushed. Some might be killed at any time. Second, there was poverty. Though they were rich in Christ, they suffered from want. There was also vicious slander. Tough times! Suffering is as certain for all of us, sometimes because we are Christians. But Jesus’ counsel is not to succumb to fear. Be faithful. Don’t give up! (v. 10). There is a glorious life ahead. “If indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, thank you for your presence and gracious care in our tough times. Amen