Coming Through Hardships

Sunday is All Saints Day. A saint is defined as "a person who is officially recognized by the Christian church as being very holy because of the way he or she lived: a person who is very good, kind, or patient."(Merriam-Webster Dictionary) We may know of someone who exemplifies the qualities of a saint as defined here. However, this definition is not the final word on what a saintly person should be.

The official designation of a saint originally came from the process that the Roman Catholic Church instituted when it chooses to beatify someone based on a time-honored tradition that has been strictly adhered to for centuries and is highly scrutinized by the church before someone is judged to be a saint.

However, those of us who believe that we may never be considered for beatification and elevated into sainthood, do have our own understanding of what a saintly person acts like and how they think, and that idea should serve to help us attain a deeper understanding of what makes up a saint while that person lives on earth.

Some people may believe a saint is someone who lives their life as close to mistake-free or sin-free thinking and action as humanly possible. Other people may think that being a saint is someone who cares for people who are suffering or in need of help and attends to their welfare over and above their own needs and desires, working feverishly to accomplish those means.

Then there are those who see a saint as someone who endured great suffering themselves but were still loving and caring to those around them, despite the very difficult circumstances they had to overcome during their life. In cases where others treated them poorly and unfairly, saints were able to forgive them without becoming embittered by the evil actions perpetrated against them.

Our Bible reading for this Sunday is from Revelation 7:9-17. Revelation was written by John the Apostle while living in exile on an island called Patmos, which is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. John was sent there as punishment for preaching the word of God over and against the will of the governmental authorities. In Revelation, John gives his divinely inspired truths as to who Jesus is and also instruction and encouragement to the churches in Asia that were under intense oppression from the Roman Empire.

When you read verses 9-17 in the seventh chapter, you will see described in a vision of John, an interaction with the heavenly realm that serves as a clear reminder that God cares for all of the saints and gives to them what they need to continue to live their saintly lives until they receive their ultimate reward. This is an important message for us today as we are dealing with an overwhelming set of circumstances that have collided together, causing us to cry out, "How long will we have to deal with these things God? We need relief now!"

When you read that passage you will discover verses that tell of a question asked of John by a heavenly being about a group of people who were identified by their clothes, wanting John to tell the heavenly being who they were and where they came from. I ask that you consider the answer that was supplied and pray for God to give you deeper insight into those people and how they impact us today as believers in God as we prepare for worship on All Saints Day.

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