Suffering Pales in the Light of God’s Goodness and Glory
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
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, ESV)
There’s a moment when we’re looking back and realize somehow, miraculously, amazingly the things, moments, events which one made us crumble, cringe and cry have faded away. Faded to become a distant memory, faded into the background so much we can barely see them anymore and are so vague or faint we can hardly remember the details and the pain is but a momentary sting at best. Once they were all we thought or talked about, once a chapter now barely a page or better yet, a paragraph in our mind and heart. It’s that moment we know and experience how Paul wrote in Romans 8.
That moment we realize God’s promise to cause all things—yes, including “that” thing to serve a purpose of good in our life.
How many before us have had this exact experience and revelation. Joseph certainly. As he looked back over his life’s journey. All the way back to childhood when his own brothers tried to destroy him by throwing him into the cistern hoping to harm, even kill him, then sold him into slavery. Was there a moment he felt he would never forgive nor forget their betrayal and all he felt was intense pain in his heart, deepened by the injustice of being wrongly accused by Potiphar’s wife of sexual assault, spending time in prison. But now, as he ran Pharaoh’s household, the most powerful man next to Pharaoh, over the land of Egypt, Joseph only felt amazement and humbled by what God had accomplished. The devil had worked feverishly to destroy the vision and dream God had given him as a boy and used his own brothers to do so initially but God had worked good through every event and plan. Joseph knew every bit of his journey had been ordained and allowed by God to position him where he was today. (ref. Gen. 37-41)
As Peter said,
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:6,7)
God tells us to hold out and hold on. He whispers to us not to give up or let the dream or vision he has planted fade or disappear but just know he’s already got a plan to use our experience for our good and his glory.
It is the continued life we cling to in the Vine that will keep us encouraged and believing. Apart from Christ there is no faith or hope. Paul said, “and these three remain, “faith, hope and love. And love is the greatest (I Cor 13:13)
It is our deep love and faith in Jesus that keeps us strong to hang on, our steadfast trust in God that helps us know his promises are true and are for us, and being empowered by the Holy Spirit that keeps us doing what’s good and commendable until the time of suffering or emptiness is complete, and the day of glory has arrived.
All these create an atmosphere for bearing fruit and sowing a praiseworthy testimony for others who need to know, “don’t lose faith or hope, your suffering will result in your good and God’s glory.”
Jesus, in you we have strength to endure and continue in faith and we can consider that these present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be seen later. Amen
What’s my story? How have I experienced what both Paul and Peter wrote in their letters? Have I shaped my experiences of suffering into a testimony for others?
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