Friday, August 26, 2011

Compared to

If we are to share (Christ's) glory, we must also share his suffering.  Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. (Romans 8:17-18)

These words were written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome who were living under the rule of Emperor Nero.  The Roman emperors took pleasure in burning Christians at the stake, tying them to bulls who dragged them to death, and covering them with animal skins to watch wild dogs rip them to pieces.  The people to whom these words were written lived under the constant threat of death.  They grieved the murders of their friends and family members.  They suffered.
If their suffering was nothing compared to their future glory, how much more is my suffering nothing compared to what is to be revealed later?
Notice that Paul did not say that what those Christians suffered was nothing.
Getting cancer is not nothing.
Losing your mother is not nothing.
Having the children you thought you were going to keep forever taken back by their birth mother is not nothing.  
What he said was that their suffering was nothing compared to what would be revealed later.  
The rainstorm we had yesterday in Virginia was big, but it was nothing compared to  the rain we will get tomorrow from the hurricane.
The hole our rabbit dug under the house is big, but it is nothing compared to the Grand Canyon.
Losing someone you love is HUGE, but it is nothing compared to what lies ahead.
Difficult concept to grasp? Yes.  Difficult to see my suffering as nothing?  Yes.  It is only nothing when I am able to compare it to what lies ahead and this comparison is only possible if I am able to trust in what I cannot see.
That's great for the future, but how am I supposed to make it through this day?
Today it hurts.
Today I want to give up.
Today my suffering is all I can see.

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort... For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.  (2 Corinthians 1:3,5)

If you are suffering today, be encouraged as you compare your suffering with what lies ahead and as you continue to seek the God of all comfort.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Press on!

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