Scripture: Proverbs 4-6, Romans 8
Romans 8:17-18 Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s suffering, we will also share his glory. 18 I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.
First, anyone who reads today’s readings can’t help but be struck by the stupidity of adultery! Anyone thinking of it should read these chapters in Proverbs several times!
Second, I love Romans 8—it is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Today I was struck by the unavoidable reality of suffering and the promise of sharing Christ’s glory.
This week, I met with a dear friend who lost his son just a few months ago—his grief and suffering was raw. We talked about suffering—it is inescapable in this life, and yet we do whatever we can to escape it. Better to simply embrace it, knowing that God is at work in our suffering (see Romans 5:1-5, 8:28-30). God is using our suffering to produce character and hope in us, to make us more like Jesus. This is why Paul said in Romans 5 that we can rejoice in our troubles. Rather than running from them, we rejoice in them because God is at work.
Both passages (Romans 5 and 8) celebrate what God is doing in us right now in the midst of our trouble, but also look forward to what is to come. We will share in Christ’s glory—and that makes our troubles look like nothing! There is no comparison! “What we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory” that is coming!
I think of basketball practice and the coach making us run lines (suicide drills) until we threw up or couldn’t stand up. Suffering! But that suffering was nothing next to hoisting the championship trophy at the end of the season. The glory far outweighed the suffering.
I think of a mother delivering a baby—the labor pains are awful. And yet when she holds that cooing baby, the suffering is all forgotten compared to the joy of holding her child. (See John 16:21)
When you’re suffering, hang on to this. God is at work in the present. And the glory to come is far greater than your suffering.
Prayer: Lord, remind us in the midst of our suffering of this good news for both the present and the future. Help us to embrace our suffering and grow through it rather than trying to escape.