Faithfulness in Suffering and the Crown of Life

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer…
Be thou faithful unto death,
and I will give thee a crown of life
(Revelation 2: 10).

By His suffering our Lord eased our suffering. He endured the greatest of pain and emerged as the Victor. That is why He can encourage us in our lesser sufferings. He suffered and endured in righteousness while we suffer and endure in expiating our own sins. This is why He can doubly remind us to endure to the end as He, the Sinless One, endured. Not one of us helped or alleviated His pains and endurance, yet He stands beside each one of us when we suffer and He alleviates our pains and misfortunes. That is why He has the right to tell each one who suffers for His name’s sake: “Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer, for I alone have endured all sufferings and am familiar with them. I was not frightened by a single suffering. I received them upon Myself, and in the end I overcame them all.  I did not overcome them by dismissing them or fleeing from them but by receiving them all upon Myself voluntarily and enduring them all to the end. And so you also should accept voluntary suffering, for I see and know how much and how long you can endure. “If your suffering should continue until death itself and if it should be the cause of your death, nevertheless, do not be afraid: I will give thee the crown of life. I will crown you with immortal life, in which I reign eternally with the Father and the Life-giving Spirit.” God did not send you to earth to live comfortably, but rather to prepare you for eternal life. It would be a great tragedy if your Creator were unable to give you a better, longer, and brighter life than that which is on earth, which reeks of decay and death and is shorter than the life of a raven. O my brethren, let us listen to the words of the Lord and all of our sufferings will be alleviated. If the blows of the world seem as hard as stones, they will become as the foam of the sea when we obey the Lord. O Victorious Lord, teach us more about Thy long-suffering. And when we become exhausted, extend Thy hand and sustain us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai. The Prologue of Ohrid (Kindle Locations 6056-6072). Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.