Not a Fairytale Faith

Revelation1:8 “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

The Christian faith has never been an ivory tower sort of religion, handed down to the people from isolated experts who don’t have a clue about what real life is like. Look at John. He was a brother and companion in suffering with the people to whom he was writing. He didn’t live an artificial life far from the problems of the people. He was persecuted for his beliefs. In fact, as he wrote these words he tells us that he was in exile on the island of Patmos.

Sometimes we would like Christianity to be a little less real, wouldn’t we. We would like it to be more of an escape from the mean world in which we live. But this isn’t a fairy tale religion. It deals with things the way they really are. Jesus didn’t have an easy life. His disciples didn’t have an easy life. All but one was executed for his faith. We don’t have an easy life, and God doesn’t promise us one.

But this shouldn’t discourage us. It means that the words he shares with us ring true. John was a brother and companion in suffering. We are brothers and companions in suffering. That’s the way things really are, and it gives us extra assurance that what Christ reveals is reliable. His messengers speak and write about things the way they really are with no sugar-coating.

That also gives us confidence when it comes to the other things he reveals that aren’t so obvious to our eyes or other senses. John adds that he was a brother and companion in the kingdom, and in patient endurance that we find in Jesus. Later in this book, and in other parts of the New Testament, we are told that we are not just citizens of God’s kingdom, but royalty in it. For all of our suffering, we actually live our lives here as rulers.

“How can that be?” we might be tempted to ask. When we say our prayers, God actually changes the course of history at times to answer them. When we spread the gospel, the power of God himself is at work capturing hearts for his kingdom. In everything that happens, God is directing the affairs of this world to serve you and me. The whole world bows to our true needs in God’s kingdom. And in such promises we find the patient endurance to continue on in our lives.

That may be hard to see, but we have Jesus’ own promises. That’s no fairy tale.

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