“They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, ‘It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God’” Acts 14: 22
Paul and Barnabas offer words of comfort. In our present time, we must endure physical and emotional hardships. Sometimes it feels unfair or like some sort of punishment, but truly it is simply (or not so simply), a refining of our faith. John gives us such hopeful news to any suffering that we may have to endure. He shares the voice of heaven with us, that tells us, that there will be no more death or pain or wailing or weeping or mourning in the new heaven and new earth. He tells us that God himself will be with us always!
So how do we get from here to there? Jesus, himself, tells us the answer. Love. Loving one another was his command. We cannot just love those who are easy to love. We must also love those who seem to be unlovable. We must, in thought and heart and deed, embrace the un-embraceable. We must caress the untouchable. Loving and kind words must be offered when faced with harmful speech and gossip. We cannot shake a person from our lives like dust from our shoes, until we have tried every option which the Lord shows us. This kind of love, this Agape love, isn’t easy. It is tough work every single day. It requires a recommitment to act in love EVERY DAY!
The cost of heaven may be daily hardships. It will be a struggle to love in word and deed at all times. Sometimes, we will fail. Sometimes, we will succeed. Every day we start anew. The cost of heaven may be high, but isn’t it worth it? Jesus thought so. The cost of the gates of heaven being opened to us was his life, suffering and death.
Pray for love. Pray for endurance. Pray for those who have no one to pray for them.
Have a blessed week as you love, endure and pray,