As we look at Smyrna, fear would have been prevalent for the early church, because persecution was rampant. People were arrested and killed for their faith.
Fear is a pretty common emotion in our world today. Listening to news reports, looking at inflation, gas prices, food prices, supply chain problems, watching the stock market melt away, all feel like signs that we are in the middle of a hurricane that we cannot see. The unknown can cause us to be afraid. For the last several years, there have been times we were directed to stay in place, hunker down, shelter at home, quarantine, all different phrases, but all have the same meaning…stay inside. No visits, trips, vacations, we were able to shop for food, but other than that, if at all possible, we were to stay in. For many it almost felt like a prison.
But God has this encouraging Word for the church in Smyrna. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelation 2:10
Do not be afraid, be faithful. How comforting those words would have been to this church. And those words still apply to us. Do not be afraid, be faithful.
We are called to be faithful. That means we spend time in God’s Word, we pray, we praise, we share truth, we look for opportunities to encourage, we bring joy even in the middle of difficult circumstances. We live out Jesus Christ.
The world has little hope in the middle of a mess. We have Jesus, and He gives the opportunity to turn the mess into the message.