For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.Romans 8:18(NASB)
The world in which we live is a fallen world; a place of sufferings and trials, and a time of heartaches and problems; a life of difficulties and sickness, and a season of disappointments and death.
Afflictions and anguish stalk our path like a hungry pack of jackals and they are no respecter of persons or position, clime or creed, wise or foolish, young or old, believer or unbeliever. And if this were all that life offered to humanity, we would indeed be the most miserable of species, for we would remain dead in trespasses and sins, without God and without any hope in the world.
And Romans, Chapter 8 is one of many passages that reminds us that as Christians, we will not escape the sufferings of this age. Indeed, Paul writes to Timothy: "All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
But Romans 8:18 is a verse of contrasts. Suffering is placed alongside great glory, sadness is contrasted with lasting joy, despair is put in contradistinction with the glorious hope that is set before us, while death is forever swallowed up in the abundance of everlasting life.
Suffering in this world also helps us to keep our eyes off the things of this world, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. It is in times of suffering that we are inclined to lean upon the Lord, to entreat Him in prayers and petitions, to stay very close to the shelter of His wings. And Paul reminds us that "suffering produces perseverence, perseverance, character; and character, hope."
But here, Paul is exhorting us not to keep our eyes on what suffering in this world is doing in us, but to lift our eyes and fix our gaze on Jesus and "the glory that is to be revealed to us."
Suffering and all its aggressive associates pale into blinded insignificance when placed in their correct eternal perspective, for when laid alongside the truth of the gospel and the glory that shines forth from its eternal pages, they are not even worthy to be considered in the same breath as our reality in Christ and our eternal heavenly future.
Loving Father, thank you for Your wonderful words of wisdom in Scripture. May I become so firmly grounded in the truth of Your Word and the glory that it reveals, that I can place the sufferings of this present time in their correct perspective. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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