holy and true,
Dear Patient Believers:
By the end of the first century the early community of faith had expanded out beyond Jerusalem. They had spread throughout the Roman Empire, beyond just Israel and Palestine, to places like Egypt, Greece, Asia Minor and Italy. The faithful had shared the Word of God and converted many into the Way. House churches and communities gathered where they could and when they could each week to worship, singing hymns and taking part in the communion of the Lord. But also by the end of the first century, the faithful of Jesus Christ were facing opposition from evil and earthly forces. Many were arrested, imprisoned, and even executed for the confession of faith that “Jesus is Lord”.
John the Apostle was one such Christian that had been arrested and taken to a Roman prison island called Patmos. Now while on this island he has a vision revealed to him by Jesus Christ. In his vision he sees many plagues and diseases, wars and disasters that will come upon humanity. But through it all he has one hope, that God is in charge. Chapter 6, reveals the opening of the first four scrolls ushering in the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Then at the fifth scroll, we hear the cry of the martyrs under the altar of God in heaven. They cry out asking God, how long they have to wait until he acts. They suffered for the faith and now they are seeing their loved ones suffering, and so they are pleading with God to do something. And the answer they receive is “to rest a little while longer, until the number would be complete.” They are told that God is going to act, but at the time when all is set and all are given the time and means to enter into his kingdom.
This same message comes to all of us, as we start to lose our patience in this pandemic. We want to see life restored. We want to return to normal. We want God to act. We may well be praying those same exact words of the first century martyrs, crying out, “How Long”. But we need to hold on to the patience of knowing that God is with us. To be confident knowing that God is moving and acting. To be comforted in the ultimate fact that indeed God is in charge, and has power over life and death, health and sickness, this world and the next. To know that God is fulfilling his kingdom, and bringing us along with all people of all times to be a part of his eternal joy.
May you have the patience this day to hold to the confidence in God our Creator, Savior and Sustainer. May you look to God and wait in faith.
In the peace and grace of God,
Pastor Kirk Griffin