These Present Sufferings

Last night a friend emailed me asking for prayer for her mother. Marion has just found out that her cancer is growing. The fear of pain and death, the reluctance to leave her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren behind, has left her anxious. She is only one on my list of people who, for various reasons, are suffering.

Suffering takes many forms, but usually we think of it in terms of the physical. So when Paul writes in Romans 8:17: "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may share in his glory", our natural inclination is to think of physical death. But not everyone will suffer a painful death—certainly not death on a cross. Such suffering wouldn't be a prerequisite for sharing in Christ's glory.

But Paul clarifies the statement in the verses that follow. He writes: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worthy comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us" —Romans 8:18. He then goes on to graphically describe how the creation suffers each day because of the consequences of sin and eagerly awaits its ultimate liberation.

I looked back once more at the reference to Christ's sufferings. His death on the cross put an end to his suffering. He had walked in our sandals for thirty-three years, facing every temptation we face, dealing with evil, seeing the deepest needs of mankind and feeling the pain of rejection at his provision for those needs. When the Lord returned to his Father, he was liberated, restored to his glory.

For those of us who belong to God's family by faith in Jesus Christ, our struggle with sin is a given. The believer suffers because he fights daily to overcome the effects of broken lives in a broken world; he constantly struggles to be like Christ in a Christ-less world. As the Lord triumphed in life, so we are urged to pray (Romans 8:26, 27) for that same victory in anticipation of the same freedom that will be ours when God finally chooses to release us from this life.

Paul writes: "…We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies…we wait for it patiently" —Romans 8:23, 25. Paul's note of triumph is found in his supreme confidence that nothing we can suffer here will compare with the glory that awaits us.

Comments

  1. "Nothing we can suffer here will compare to the glory that awaits us." AMEN

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  2. What a vision and hope we have - nothing in this world can dim it or cause it to fade - even when I seem to have nothing I truly have all in Him! thanks for sharing, Lynda!

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