“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…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.”—Romans 8:18, 23
Our suffering is a challenge to our faith. After all, we think if God loved us, He’d remove the obstacles that bring us so much anguish and pain. Most of us aren’t good at suffering. The German theologian Helmut Thielicke observed, “Americans don’t know how to suffer. They consider it fundamentally inadmissible, disturbing, embarrassing, and not to be endured.”
Faith healers are right to believe that Jesus died on the cross for us body, soul, and spirit, and that redemption is total. But they fail to point out that we do not receive all the benefits of Jesus’ death until we die and our souls go to heaven; then later we will be resurrected, and the promise of our full redemption is realized.
Don’t minimize the value of suffering. Even if we don’t see miracles (though God sometimes chooses to perform them), we are called to maintain our faith in God’s promises during times of suffering. Tested faith is of great value to God.
Elsewhere, Paul writes, “this light affliction which is but for a moment and works in us an exceeding great eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Put all your suffering on one side of the scale, and the glory that is to be revealed in us on the other side, and the scale will go plunk!! God will make up for our suffering many times over. These sufferings are unworthy of comparison.
The glory that will be revealed in us can only be partially imagined. Not just that we’ll have glorified bodies, but that we’ll actually “appear with Jesus in glory” joined by our believing loved ones. No wonder we sing:
“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. One glimpse at His dear face, all sorrow will erase, so gladly run the race till we see Him.”
Until we see Jesus, Paul says, we groan, but we groan for glory.
Let Us Pray
Father, help us to suffer well. Let us learn from your Son, “the Man of sorrows,” how to maintain our faith even in the face of horror. Let us never turn away from You, no matter how dark the night and fearful the future. Teach us to go on believing Your promises even without explanations.
I pray for ______ that they might be steadfast when suffering comes their way. Let them be assured that no matter the temperature within the furnace of affliction, You keep Your hand on the thermostat. Help us to know You well enough to trust You and be faithful until we see you face to face.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.