“But call to remembrance the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions; partly, while you were made a gazing-stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly, while you became companions of them that were so used—for you had compassion of me in my bonds and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in Heaven a better and an enduring substance.”
Remembering what awaits us will help sustain us when sorrows and sufferings assail us.
How goes the battle today, Pilgrim? Is it hot-and-heavy? Or, are you enjoying a time of temporary reprieve and a little spiritual R&R?
Regardless, today’s Manna is definitely good reading for each of us—especially as it relates to the Battle and how we should conduct ourselves in our pilgrimage towards our final Home.
So often when our “fiery furnace” trials are quite numerous and hot (I Pet. 1:6), we’re tempted to forget from whence we’ve come (“the former days after we were illuminated”) and the things the Lord is preparing for those who love Him (I Cor. 2:9).
Why is that?
Simply, like Peter walking on the sea that day, we take our eyes off the Lord Jesus and begin looking at the black, swirling storm clouds overhead, the dark angry waves beneath our feet, and we begin to sink (Mk. 14:30). Instead of looking through the “telescope of triumph” (I Pet. 1:9), we look at things through the “microscope of misery” and begin to despair.
We remember how we were “made a gazing-stock” (i.e., public spectacle, theater, open book) as others gossiped about us, spread rumors, lied, engaged in wholesale character assassination, etc. We remember their “reproaches and afflictions”—their hurtful words and deeds—that pierced to the depths of our being, leaving us reeling in perplexity and pain.
But, the only thing that kept us from sinking down into the depths and Davy Jones’ Locker was the quick Hand of the Savior (Mk. 14:31). And, He reminded us like He reminded Elijah that we are not alone in such times (I Kings 19:4, 10, 14, 18) and are, in reality, “companions of them that are also so used.”
Likewise, during our difficulties we, like the recipients of the Epistle to the Hebrews, should look for opportunities to show “compassion on those in their bonds”—i.e., who are also suffering. Some believe this is evidence that the letter’s author is Paul; regardless, it’s clear that these suffering saints had reached out to one imprisoned and didn’t worry about what it’d cost them—for they “knew within themselves that their Heavenly treasure is of a better (Grk. ‘kreitton’—‘stronger, nobler, vigorous, mighty, etc.’) and more enduring (Grk. ‘meno’—‘permanent, to stay in place, dwelling, continuing, etc.’) substance.”
Or, another way to put it is “It’s rust, rot and robber proof” (Mt. 6:19-21). Hallelujah!!
So, do not hesitate to help others in their time of need, Pilgrim, especially when they’re a fellow Pilgrim and undergoing trials like what you’ve been going through. Be Christ’s “compassionate conduit” and “comfort them with the comfort with which you’ve been comforted” (II Cor. 1:4). They’ll be blessed. You’ll be blessed. And Jesus will be pleased.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated March 15, 2011