Not Even Worth Comparing

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:18

People are suffering.  Recently I went to the funeral of a friend’s father.  And another friend buried his mother, after having buried his father two months ago.  These people were suffering.  They were grieving as they watched their loved ones be put to eternal rest.

Surely, there are many of us suffering all over the world and not just merely by losing loved ones.  Many of us are suffering through tumultuous times – economically, physically, emotionally and mentally.  We have to live through adversity, inequity, injustices, racism, classism, sexism, prejudice and bigotry.  Some of us are suffering because we have identified ourselves as children of God – we are hated because we name the name of Christ!  Yes, there is a lot of suffering going on.

If anyone knew about suffering it was Paul (ironically, this is the case for someone who made it his life’s mission to annihilate Christians).  Paul told the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 6:4,5 that he had been through it all, “but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger.”  He had been beaten and shipwrecked (2 Cor 11:23-28); he knew what it meant to suffer.

But here Paul tells the Roman church that the sufferings of this present age are nothing compared to the glory (Gr. doxa -the singular splendor of God and its consequences for mankind) that will be revealed to the child of God – the citizen of Heaven! I don’t know about you – but I get so excited when I read the verses in this chapter!

Paul goes on to say that even creation and nature will experience restoration and renewal in the glory to come! So much is talked about regarding our climate and natural resources today – global warming, huge glaciers melting, a decaying earth! But Paul says that the entire universe is in travail as if it were giving birth.  And just like in childbirth the pain is not meaningless but it carries with it the hope of new life[1]it, too, will experience the glory of the Lord!  Likewise, we ourselves are inwardly groaning as we await the final phase of our adoption—the redemption of our bodies (cf. Phil 3:21).[2]

And the child of God, who groans within as he/she awaits the hope of glory must wait with patience for that day to come(vv. 23-25).  And although we are weary on this journey as we wait, although we experience suffering and angst on this journey while we wait, the Spirit will encourage us, lift us up and intercede for us because it is often at these times that we can’t even pray for ourselves (vv. 26-27)! Then he states in verse 28 that wonderful promise that each of us have had to make a part of our personal constitution at one time or another just to make it through, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Oh, how he loves us – even through our suffering, even through our pain, even through the many things we have to endure in our daily lives – the struggles, the uncertainty, the agony, the temptations, the turmoil; he works it out for our good (and His glory). 

I know it’s still early in 2018…the confetti is barely gone – but you may be going through your own period of suffering – or maybe even headed toward it.  I need you to understand, as Paul so perfectly penned it, that no matter what you are going through or how painful your suffering appears or will be, know that it’s not even worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to the child of God! Carson stated it this way, “Believers, facing the necessity of ‘suffering with Christ’ in this world can nevertheless be confident and secure, knowing that God has determined to bring us through to our inheritance (18–22, 29–30), that he is providentially working on our behalf (28) and that he has given us his Spirit as the guarantee of our final redemption (23).[3]

So,wait, with patience, for what is to come – your eternal reward when all will be revealed and restored.  And while you wait with hope, the Spirit will be interceding for you and what you are going through WILL work out for your good!

That’s good news! It sure is to me!

c/ Candie A. Price

[1] Robert H. Mounce, vol. 27, Romans, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 185.

[2] Moo comments that by associating our “groaning” with that of creation, Paul characterized it as nonverbal and therefore indicative of an inner attitude of frustration at the moral and physical infirmities of the present age and of eager longing for the end of this state of “weakness” (Romans 1–8, 556).

[3] New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Ro 8:18–30.

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