By John Gipson
These words, "Glory be to God for everything," were spoken by a preacher
who had suffered much. John Chrysostom had experienced his first exile
in Cucusos, where he was kindly treated and could write to his friends
and could receive frequent visits.
But in 407 A.D. this changed. The eastern emperor decided on a more
distant, much harsher exile. As J. N. D. Kelly recounts the story, two
praetorian guards were to take him to Pityus on the eastern shores of
the Black Sea. Chrysostom was frail, but forced to walk. The guards had
been promised promotion if their prisoner died in route. After a cruel
journey to a hamlet (today Bizeri), Chrysostom is described as "racked
with fever, his face burnt brick red by the hot summer sun, he was at
the end of his tether."
His last words were: "Glory be to God for everything."
I am reminded of the words of the apostle Paul. He enjoins us to give
thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father in
everything, and always (Ephesians 5:20).
It was a secret Paul had learned - regardless of his circumstances. He
could sing praises to God at midnight while he experienced the
discomfort of Philippian stocks.
When one truly appreciates the grace of God in not sparing His own Son,
but given Him up for us all, he has no doubt that God will "also give us
all things with him" (Romans 5:32).
"And it is when we learn by experience," says F. F. Bruce, "that, to
those who love Him, God makes all things work together for good (Romans
8:28), that we can wholeheartedly give Him thanks 'always for all
Keynoter, the weekly bulletin of the Sixth and Izard Church of Christ, Little Rock, AR; November 2, 1995, p. 3.