November 21
You have lots of company
Pastor Mark Jeske

Sufferers often feel very isolated. Everybody else seems to be doing fine. They look back and keenly regret the loss of their mobility or of sharp eyesight or hearing or memory for faces and names. It is a comfort to be with other people who suffer disabilities whom you can perhaps help, and it is an even greater comfort to know that even the mighty apostles of the Lord, the champions of the gospel of the first century, knew hardship personally. John the Baptist wasted away in Herod Antipas’ dungeon until the time of his beheading. Think of the beatings and imprisonment that Paul endured.

St. John wrote that his hardships bonded him with all believers who suffered: “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus . . .” (Revelation 1:9). John had to endure exile on the island of Patmos when he wanted to continue serving his circuit of congregations in western Asia Minor. He is still our brother and companion—in suffering, in the (building up of the) kingdom, and patient endurance. Like marines in boot camp, the fatigue and stress and hardships we experience in service to our mission only make us tougher and more useful to our King.

When you suffer hurt or loss, you do not have to fear that you are being punished or that you have fallen from favor with the Lord. You have company. Good company!


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