The church in the city of Smyrna was afraid. Under the thumb of a cruel and violent emperor, they faced persecution daily. Suffering surrounded them. Tribulation and affliction were the new norms. And the prospects for a peaceful life seemed like a distant hope.
Jesus knew how difficult life was and how difficult life would become for the believers in Smyrna. Which is why He wrote to them to tell them to stop fearing the things they were about to suffer. He wanted this church, struggling to stay loyal to Him, to anticipate difficult days ahead…and to know that through it all, He would be with them.
Suffering—no matter how severe in this life—is only for a finite amount of time. The One who defeated death is aware of all the difficulty, pain, and suffering that you endure. Jesus knows how you’ve been knocked around. Jesus knows what you’ve been through. And like the believers in Smyrna, Jesus knows what you are about to go through…and that He will be with you as you endure it.