Trials; February 28, 2023

Revelation 12:12 “Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”

The Bible never promises us that things will be easy, but at least it tells us why they will be hard! The thing to notice, though is that there is always an element of real hope. In Jesus’ famous statement that “In this world you will have trouble,” He also told us to take heart, because He has already overcome the world. (John 16:33) Here, we are told that the devil/dragon is filled with fury, which is a fearsome image indeed, but we are also told that “his time is short.” Of course, we need to remember that “short” is a relative term. As I have written repeatedly, God is outside of time so His frame of reference isn’t the same as ours. That said, we are going to spend eternity with Him, so from that perspective we will be able to see how short the devil’s time really was. God has a purpose for every hard thing He allows in our lives, but we aren’t too likely to perceive it in the heat of the moment. However, when we release each thing to Him in faith, it’s generally not long before we realize the truth of Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Paul, who wrote that, went through all sorts of hardships and was eventually martyred, but he had the assurance that “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) Peter also told us not to be surprised at “fiery trials,” but rather to rejoice. (1 Peter 4:12-13) I think that for the definitive word on this we go back to Paul: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) When we have that perspective, the devil’s fury will be no more than an inconvenience.

I have had various experiences that weren’t much fun at the time, but from my current viewpoint they don’t seem like such a big deal. However, when I tell people about them they seem awed by my faith and endurance. I didn’t feel so strong in the middle of it all! I know that my trials are small potatoes compared to what many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have endured, but none of it can compare to what awaits us in eternity with the Lord of Glory. Right now I’m still recovering from a broken wrist, but I had good medical treatment and my progress is surprisingly fast to many people. I have no room to complain. At this point I can type, with only a few more mistakes than usual, and I am aware of and grateful for my progress. I expect to recover full use of that wrist, and even if I don’t, I won’t need it for more than about 25 more years at the most! It is a reminder of my humanity and of the need to let others participate in what I have thought of as “my” ministry. God is good!

Father, thank You indeed for this reminder. Help me be on my guard against the devil, (1 Peter 5:8) but at the same time not be paranoid, but rather rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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