A Fate Worse than Death
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. . . The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death. Revelations 2:10-11
In the disastrous consequences of my addiction, I had two choices – give up or get sober. I could have resigned myself to a life of drugs. I’ve wrecked my life. I can’t fix this. I might as well just keep using. I never really considered that as a viable option though because even in the worst of the disaster, I always believed life would get better if I got sober. I wasn’t sure that I’d get my career or family back, but I knew the only chance I had was to find recovery. I knew things could always get worse, and I always had hope for a better future . . . if I followed God instead of myself.
We need this. In our faith, we need hope for a better tomorrow. God asks us to believe in him, following his way instead of our own. For us to buy into that, we must be convinced that there’s a better future in it. Faith in the face of pain is difficult though. I know what some of you are going through: addicted family members, unfaithful spouses, terminal cancer. Life is hard and trials seem overwhelming. What good is faith in God if he doesn’t fix those things?
In today’s passage, Jesus provided the promise of faith’s reward. To me, this is the only way faith makes sense. In the passage, Jesus told the church in Smyrna not to fear their coming trials. He predicted that some of them would be put in prison. They’d experience trials and tribulations. They were going to face death. Then however, he pointed out that in the afterlife, all pain would be healed. One day, they’d face God and Jesus promised the faithful wouldn’t face the second death, but rather, would inherit eternal life.
We’re all going to die. We’re all going to meet God one day. The condition of our souls when meet him will determine our destiny. When we meet God, will we be on his side? Or will we have rejected him in this life? There is a fate worse than death and things can always get worse. In faith however, we can know that one day, despite life’s trials, all pain will be healed and all our tears will be wiped away. Considering the sorrows of this world, this is the only way faith makes sense.
What choice do we have after all? In our pain, we could curse God, rejecting him. That won’t fix our trials though. Only in faith can we find hope for a better future, even when all seems lost. Only in faith can we experience hope now, despite our circumstances.