I have a little devotional calendar. When I come in on Monday mornings, I try to start the week out right by not only reading today's message, but catching up on the weekend's readings too. Over the weekend, on reading was from I John 4:4 "God's Spirit who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world." It goes on to say "To the first century church in Smyrna, Christ said, '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 for ten days. But be faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of live"(Revelation 2:10). Christ informs the church of the ...duration...the reason...and the outcome of the persecution. In other words, Jesus uses Satan to fortify his church.
I had to go read the entire chapter of Revelation, just to see what was going on. It is a series of paragraphs written to different churches of the time. Praising some, warning some and condemning some. I'm skipping the last sentence of the devotion about "using Satan to fortify his church" because I'm not in the right frame of mind to deal with it right now (I think it would piss me off). What really caught my attention was the "suffer for ten days" section.
Where is my letter about how long I'm going to suffer? How come the Church in Smyrna was told exactly how long they were to suffer? When is my time going to be over? I want an answer. If I knew it was a short time, I could muster up enough energy to keep going. If it were a long time, I could give up now and quit this journey. I am afraid that is why God hasn't told me how long -- because He knows it is a LONG time and that I would give up.