"When they had called the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts 5:40-41).
The apostles considered it a privilege to suffer for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They viewed pain, loss, and even possible martyrdom as evidence of God's approval rather than His disfavor or neglect. Peter, James, John and their brothers well understood from the experience of their Master that the resurrection proceeding from suffering and death makes every loss worthwhile. Or, as the Apostle Paul declared, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).
Our lives upon the earth are but a brief moment, and "as a shadow that passeth away" (Psalm 144:4). Eternity, however, is forever. The pains that God allows or even determines impact our hearts with their barbs and their pangs. We feel them, and they are real. Paul's reckoning did not preclude or minimize the sorrows he experienced as a human being. Our brother of old realized, however, that a greater reality could overcome and transcend the sufferings of this present sojourn. We can "reckon," that is, we can account as true - because it is true - that today's losses serve as heralds for eternity's gain. We shall not suffer forever. But we shall eternally know glories unimaginable because we have suffered. As we join the Apostles in embracing such blessed Truth, our hurts may not heal. But our hearts will rest and rejoice in our Lord's assurance of peace: "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
The passing shadow of today will soon give way to the perpetual solace of forever. The hymn writer proclaimed the truth when she wrote, "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus." It will. Let us therefore reckon our sufferings as privilege, and as unworthy of comparison with the glories to come. This is Truth, and the transcending reality whereby we honor the One who presently meets us in our pains, and who will forever grace us with wonders that will more than requite every loss and every sorrow.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying. Neither shall there be anymore pain. For the former things are passed away."
Weekly Memory Verse
But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice. Let them shout for joy because Thou defendest them. Let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee.