The Suffering of the Saints

Romans 8:18

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

This has been the BSF verse of the week.  We have learned about all kinds of suffering and the reasons for it.  It has given me varied perspectives on my own suffering.  It has not been easy to think about.  As a matter of fact, it has been downright painful.

There can be different reasons for suffering.  Sometimes we bring it on ourselves.  Our choices have consequences.  Sometimes we make decisions without thinking them through, without taking stock of the impact that they will have on our lives and the lives of the people around us, those that we love the most.  It can be difficult to endure when we realize that the suffering that we and our loves ones suffer is caused by something that we did.

Sometimes suffering is caused by others’ decisions.  People that we love or people that we don’t even know can make decisions that cause suffering in our lives.  Both can be equally as difficult to endure.  I have had neighbors that I did not know whose decisions caused living near them to become miserable.  I have also had neighbors who were very kind, and when I had to move, I wished I could bring them with me.  It was these neighbors’ decisions that resulted in the experience that I had with them.  I had no control over their decisions, but the result was mine to endure just the same.

Suffering can also be for God’s glory.  I must admit, this is the most difficult one to swallow.  I have not been able to reconcile God’s love with suffering.  I think of my own precious children.  I would never allow them to suffer for any reason, other than to chastise them for something they did to help them learn not to do that thing again.  But that is not the way God works.  Sometimes we suffer for His glory.  I don’t fully understand that, but since He is God and I am not, He doesn’t owe me an explanation for that.

The scripture teaches us that the suffering that we endure here is not worth being compared to the glory that will be revealed in us in our eternal life.  The worst that we can suffer here, including sickness, heartbreak, divorce, broken family relationships, war, poverty, abortion, crime, child abuse, robbery, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, homosexuality, same sex “marriages”, false teachers in the pulpit, unsaved persons masking as Christians, “fake” news, pornographic websites and reality tv is nothing compared to what God has in store for us in heaven. One day, we will live in all perfection.  My grandmother used to say that in heaven “every day will be like Sunday”.  I remember Sundays as a child were very special.  Every family member was off work, we all gathered at my grandmother’s house, where she cooked a huge meal, and we ate and talked and laughed and played and enjoyed each other’s company.  Sunday was my favorite day of the week as a child.  The eternal glory that I look forward to will be my childhood Sundays on steroids!

I don’t pretend to know what heaven will be like.  Even after studying the scriptures, I cannot comprehend what eternity in the Father’s presence will be like.  My imagination is not that vivid.  But I do praise the LORD that if my extreme suffering here on earth is not worth being compared to the glory that I can look forward to, then that glory is going to be out of this world!  And I will be too.

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