“They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.” Revelations 10:11
I love my life.
I love it so much, that I’ve been worrying about it lately. Worrying that things will change.
It feels as if everything is hanging in a precarious balance. The economy is bad, and the press predicts that it is going to get worse. How will it affect us? Will power-hungry bureaucrats legislate away my freedoms? Is the President going to start nationalizing things, turning us into socialists overnight? Are days of Christian persecution coming? Will it be in my lifetime, or in my children’s? How bad can things get, and how long will it take to get there?
When I’m honest with myself, these are my deep, dark fears. But the Lord keeps encouraging me not to give way to fear, and reminding me that this world is not my home.
Our hope does not rest in preserving the life we love. Its foundation is our love for Christ, and our conviction that everything we do today for His sake will be rewarded in the life to come.
We must walk boldly into the future, whatever it holds, knowing that God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, both for our true good and for His own glory.
And what if my worst fears came true? Do I love Him enough to suffer loss for His sake? To endure persecution or hardship? Will I trust Him, even when I am tested? By His grace, in faith, I can answer “Yes”.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
We must be like those saints who “did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”.
My children and I recently read a brief biography about Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna in 100 AD. He was martyred by fire for not recanting his faith. His persecutors wanted to nail him to the stake, so he would not run, burning, into the crowd.
But Polycarp said, “There is no need to use nails. My God, who gives me strength to endure the flames, will give me strength to stay in the flames without the security of your nails.”
He embraced everything that came from his loving Father’s hand, even a painful martyr’s death. May we be strengthened in our resolve that “to live is Christ”, trusting (like the Psalmist) that “my times are in your hands”.