Worthy to Suffer

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.’

“Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“’Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

“I know your tribulation and your poverty…  Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 7:9-17; 2:9a,10

John’s vision of heaven was swathed in the light and melody of glory. All wrong, bad, ugly, and terrifying had all culminated in a magnificent vision of splendor surrounding Christ’s throne, His triumph, and the saints’ satisfaction. Every cry of agony or pain had become a paean of praise, all thirst was assuaged, every tear dried. Death and sorrow were swallowed in victory and everlasting life, pronouncing all suffering worth the enduring due to the worthiness of the King. (Matthew 5:11-12; Mark 13:13; 1 Corinthians 15:55-58)

The Lord beckons us behold the heavenly chorus with the apostle, attuning to the praise of His manifold attributes, yet we brood in the lowlands! We hurt and whimper for very real suffering, but look not beyond the bleeding wounds to the healed Christ-scars. Perspective changes when we consider the vision on the other side and the worthiness endowed to suffer with Christ. The now is not pleasant and may extenuate, but the not yet is holiness. (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 3:8-11; Hebrews 12:10-11)

For every pang of breathless pain, are we aware that we’ve been counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake, to share that agony so we may share more fully in His glory? What situation, what turmoil, will we offer Him today to redeem for eternity? (Acts 5:41; Philippians 1:29-30)

My Lord, thank You for counting me worthy to share Your sufferings. Keep me expectantly, joyfully hoping for glory.

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