This week’s fighter verse is from Revelation 2:10, and it tells us about the suffering that was going to be experienced by those of the church in Smyrna. We read in Revelation 2:8-11 that they would be thrown into prison and tested for their faith; even unto death. In verses 10-11, we find an appeal for them to endure the suffering and trial by being trustworthy and faithful to Christ.
As we go over this verse with our kids, how should we speak about it to them? Should we sugarcoat the suffering that this church was told they would face? Should we go into great detail about the pains they might suffer? Should we help them memorize the words but not discuss the content? Or is there another way we can approach the verse this week?
As followers of Christ, we know that we will face persecution, trails, and suffering. Jesus declares this in John 15:18-27. Revelation 2:10 is a reminder of that reality. The beginning of the verse says not to fear what you are about to suffer. There was no question that the church in Smyrna would face trouble. This is a truth that we do not need to hide from our children. As we faithfully teach them God’s Word, we do not need to hide the fact that following Christ is hard and that suffering and trials do happen. The life of a Christian is not a constant state of experiencing only good events in life.
Our children do not need to grow up believing that if they trust and follow Christ, they will never have hardship. That kind of thinking only sets them up for more significant heartache and disappointment. Instead, we should, with age-appropriate words, talk to them about the fact that followers of Jesus will face suffering and persecution.
As we talk to them about this, though, we also have the joy of telling them about the eternal joy and blessing of following Christ. The end of v10 reminds us of this blessing, Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. We also want our kids to know that it is worth it to follow Jesus even when it hurts. We want to help them begin to develop a long view, an eternal view, of the blessing of following Christ.
Jesus told his disciples, in the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; l have overcome the world.”
Do not hide the truth of suffering from your kids. Tell them of the hardships but also tell them of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior.