“I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”‘ (Rev 2:9-11 NKJ)
So why do bad things happen to good people? If you were a member of the Smyrna congregation, that just might be a question you would ask. Jesus gives a message to this church, “I know your affliction and distress and pressing trouble and your poverty—but you are rich!” Their suffering, poverty, and persecutions were merciless, but because they loved the things the Lord loved and loved the Lord they were rich. Riches that may never find on earth, but they were waiting for them in eternity. Slandered by the Jews and as elsewhere, so at Smyrna they bitterly opposed Christianity; and at Polycarp’s martyrdom they joined the heathens in clamoring for his being cast to the lions; and when there was an obstacle to this, for his being burnt alive; and with their own hands they carried logs for the pile.
Hold fast and be faithful, some will be thrown in prison and death will soon follow. The good news is that Jesus has already defeated death, Hell, and the grave, you get to wear the Victors crown. In the meantime listen to the Spirit, he will lead you and guide you.
The slanderer and the accuser may have a first word but we have the last laugh!