We Will Experience an All-Satisfying Beauty
* Romans 8:18 (ESV) 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
When we are with Jesus, we will see all of His glory. Our current suffering is like paying a penny to have a million dollars. What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later. In addition to having the meaning of value, the phrase also carrries the idea of weight. Paul says, For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:17). It is not light in and of itself. Cancer is still present. Only compared with the weight of glory can it be light.
We will be Revealed in Glory
* Romans 8:19 (ESV) 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Creation (birds, trees, rocks and grass) is waiting with eager anticipation of our being revealed as sons of God. Just as in Genesis 3, the fate of creation is linked intricately with that of man. As we long to see God in all of His glory, to be free of pain, to experience peace like nothing we ever have, to experience pleasure like nothing else, the mountains and the hills are prepared to break forth into singing; the trees of the field are ready to clap their hands; the rocks are ready to shout out. (Isa 55:12; Luke 19:40). One day we will be like Jesus, our Redeemer (1 John 2:28-3:3; 2 Corinthians 3:18). For now, we are all physically, emotionally, socially, verbally, mentally and sexually disabled.
The Design of Despair is Hope
* Romans 8:20 (ESV) 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope.
Our futility (completely ineffective bodies, kids, marriages, jobs, homes) demands our hope in him. Our hope is in the seed of the woman who will bruise Satan’s head. It is not that this world will be made right. Even when we are in the middle of God’s will, we suffer. Jesus was asked by his disciples, “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Jesus said, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parent, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:2-3). Sanctification is not the end of suffering; glorification is (full, entire deliverance from sin). Sanctification is not our hope, glorification is.
All Creation will be freed from Suffering
* Romans 8:21 (ESV) 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
God will first redeem us as His first fruits and then redeem the rest of creation to all be brought into His glory. Failure to see this coming for us leads us to self-medicate to cope with our suffering. It also leads us to justify our sins in the suffering. It is like the man who steals bread because he is hungry. A wife may self-justifyingly find comfort in some other man because her husband does not treat her well. We try to bring heaven here because we don’t believe we will be set free. We will be baptized into Jesus Christ and we will be resurrected with Him. In Christ, we also suffer with Him and in Him we will be glorified with Him.
Miseries are not doors to death, but doors to life
* Romans 8:18, 22-23 (ESV) 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
As we experience pain, we view this as a mom in labor that produces life, not death. Groaning in the maternity ward and groaning in the cancer ward generate two different responses. All of our suffering, including death, is a door to life. He is working all things for our good (8:28). The pastor with a brain tumor tweeted recently, “When the illusion of control disappears we become men and women of prayer.”
God cares about our suffering
* Romans 8:23 (ESV) 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
At times it may not seem that he cares, but the redemption of our bodies is coming. We have a great high priest who is able to sympathize with our suffering (?± sm-p-the’-?: to be affected with the same feeling as another).
* “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:15-16)
Our healing may not come in this lifetime, but we are not living for life here and our healing will come in the life we long to see.
On this day…
- The Chief Brightness of Christ’s Glory – 2012
- How the World Can Shipwreck a Young Christian – 2012
- Pastors, Be Jesus-Full – 2012
- My speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom – 2011
- Prayer Requests for Haiti – 2010
- THE GREAT LIFE – 2009
- THE GREAT LIFE – 2009
- Philippians – 2007
- 2Samuel – 2007
- 1Samuel – 2007