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suffering is temporary

Link to the January Challenge here.

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

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it,
in hope
that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption
and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together
in the pains of childbirth until now.
And 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.

For in this hope we were saved.
Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Romans 8:18-25 ESV

This is all one paragraph in the translation I used. I just laid it out in phrases so it would make it easier for some of your brains to see it and memorize it…if they are like my brain. Personally, having the verses marked confuses me. If they help you, you can find the verses on Bible Gateway and print them out the way you want them. If you prefer to print out more than this section, adjust the reference at the top of the page, if you prefer a different translation, adjust it in the correct location to the right, also at the top of the page.

Suffering vs. Glory

OK, now to the encouraging reminders here. Consider Paul, possibly sitting in prison at the time, writing these words,…”the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” More than once, he listed the suffering he experienced for Christ. Few of us have experienced that kind of suffering. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to choose to live a life of following Jesus, knowing it would involve beatings, imprisonments, and various torture along the way.

Yes, many of us have endured suffering for sure. We have had losses, illnesses, and a variety of difficulties along the way. I don’t mean to minimize them at all. They are truly painful. And Paul says that any of the suffering we go through in this life won’t even be worth comparing to the glory we will experience in heaven! That is how much better it will be by comparison. I’m guessing we will look back at that suffering as if it was nothing by comparison to the immense glory of heaven and Christ.

Creation is groaning

Even creation is groaning for that redemption.This creation that was so perfect when it was created at first, then was affected by the Fall when everything was marred and distorted by the effect of sin and death. Creation knows full redemption is coming and it is going to be stunning, beyond our wildest dreams! Everything old will be made new. Everything broken will be renewed and refreshed. There will be no suffering, no animosity, no tears. nothing fake. Everything will be beautiful, creativity will be at its best, there will be no weeds or decay. And the glory of God will be on full display in His person and in every one of us. It will be magnificent beyond our imagination.

This is not hope in the I hope so, 50/50 kind of hope. It’s not even the I hope so in the pipe dram kind of hope. It is hope built on the confident assurance that God’s keeps His promises because of who He is. This is a truly exciting section of Romans 8…but I think I keep saying that every week!

The signs are easy for us to see. It is easy to get discouraged by what is happening around us, but the truth is we are getting closer to the time when all suffering will be over and the full glory of God will be seen

Do we watch the news and hear about natural disasters? The whole creation is groaning. Do we hear about nations fighting each other? These are signs of labor. The full redemption of our world is coming. The full redemption of us is coming. It may be 1 year or 10. But it is coming. And when it comes and the new heavens and new earth are here and we have our resurrection bodies, the glory of all of it is going to be unimaginable!

Questions to think about:

  1. Think the about one or two of the most difficult things you are dealing with right now. If you really believed this passage, how would it affect your outlook?
  2. How would you contrast the creation that is groaning now (either the literal creation or you as part of the creation) compared to the glory that will be in the new heavens and earth. What things will be present? What things will be absent?
  3. Are there other verses in the Bible that come to mind or that you found as you looked in Bible Gateway on the topics of who God is, God’s promises to you, what the new heavens and earth will be like?