16: Nerva

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

After the horrors of Domitian’s reign Nerva ascended to Caesar’s throne. An altogether different character than his predecessor, Nerva not only tolerated Christianity but he reversed the crimes committed by the state. Confiscated property was returned and exiles were recalled to their homes to resume their lives. Nerva refused to treat Christianity as a political crime, therefore giving the Lord’s people much needed breathing space. His reign was brief, 96-98 AD, but in the sovereignty of God he was an instrument of grace for the hard pressed flock of God.

As with all these emperors, we detect the hand of the Lord who rules overall. Sending both trials and relief, he uses both for the furtherance of the Gospel. As soon as one emperor was permitted to do his worst, he was removed in favour of another with more tolerant attitudes. So it is with our lives today – sufferings are part of living but they are under the dominion of the Heavenly Father, who will withdraw the pain in His own good time, working all things for our good.

Though He may send some affliction,
’Twill but make me long for home;
For in love and not in anger,
All His chastenings will come.

Mary E. Servoss

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