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The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Weekly Devotional for 2007


Week 13
March 25, 2007 -- March 31, 2007
Page 1

I know your affliction and your poverty, nevertheless you are rich. I also know the blasphemy of those who call themselves Jews. They are not real Jews, they are the synagogue of Satan. Rev 2:9.

            I have a friend named Ted who used to fly combat missions in a fighter jet for the United States Marine Corps. Shortly after a practice landing at an Air Force base, he overheard a pilot radio the tower that he was descending through 70,000 feet. 70,000 feet? Descending? How high could this guy’s plane fly? my friend thought. After making inquiries he discovered that it was the top-secret (at the time) SR-71 reconnaissance plane, able to fly at unheard of heights and at very high speeds.
            His appetite whetted, Ted pushed his way through a bunch of “red tape” to get permission to look the SR-71 over for himself. He was finally allowed to walk past the security detail and observe this awesome technological achievement inside a hangar. He was surprised at how big it was and how incredibly sleek it looked. But as he got up close he was stunned and disappointed. The thing was leaking all over the floor. There were a number of drip pans placed under it. It looked like this “bucket of bolts” was ready to fall apart! Then he found out it was being readied for take off. He asked what was the matter with it.
            “Nothing,” Ted was told. It was in great shape. It was just right for flying at high altitudes and airspeeds. What Ted didn’t know was the incredible stresses the plane had been designed to withstand. Once the plane got up to speed and reached its cruising altitude it would expand and the resulting heat would cause the dripping to stop. Not only that, much of the plane was constructed out of titanium, a metal that actually gets stronger as it heats up.
            This story helps me understand the text. How can Christians be poor and rich at the same time? How is it that suffering and affliction are to be welcomed like riches (James 1:2)? I think Christians are a lot like the SR-71. In ordinary life they don’t stand out at all, they may even look like a bigger mess than the average secular person. It is when the trials and stresses of life show up that the real Christian begins to shine.
            God doesn’t permit His people to go through trials in order to find out what they are made of. He already knows. But one reason He allows trials is so that we can discover what we are made of. As we learn to stay close to God in trial He redesigns us so we can fly higher and faster than we could possibly have imagined. If our lives were easier we might never discover the rich fulfillment that comes from flying at God’s altitude.[1]

Lord, You know how to fit us for the kind of life You had in mind when You designed us. Help me not to resent the “training,” but to see eternal riches in life’s setbacks.


[1] Ted Roberts, Pure Desire (Regal Books, 1999), 162-164.
 
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