Polycarp was a first-century Christian bishop in Smyrna who was martyred for his faith. Today’s devotion talks of the persecution in Smyrna that was foretold in the Book of Revelation and of God’s care for us in our suffering. The devotion is from Portals of Prayer.
So often it seems that evil is winning. Good people suffer pain and sorrow, while evil people grow stronger. Christians experience persecution and ridicule, marginalized by a culture that is increasingly hostile to our faith.
In Revelation, God told John to write to the Church in Smyrna (in modern Turkey). Christians there suffered poverty and slander, but God did not forget them. He knew about their trouble and warned them about persecution to come. They would be thrown in prison “and for ten days” would experience tribulation. Whether that time was exactly ten days or a symbol of a longer time, God knew the limits of their trouble. The devil brought trouble to them, but God set the limits.
When we suffer trouble, we ask, “How long?” God does not forget us. He knows our trouble and has set the limits to it. We cannot see the outcome, but God knows, and we can trust Him to bring about the end to our trouble at the right time. What God said to the Christians in Smyrna, He says to us, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Lord Jesus, You know and set the limits to our trouble. Keep us strong in faith as we hope in You. Amen.
Devotional reading and prayer are from Portals of Prayer, January–March 2012, January 16 devotion © 2011 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.