This month’s message theme is “Things Above.” It is a message series which focuses on having an eternal perspective.
How about the eternal perspective of Romans 8:18? “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Paul was not a stranger to suffering. Look at II Corinthians 11:23-28: “Are they ministers of CHRIST? – I speak as a fool – I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews 5 times I received 40 stripes minus 1. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; 3 times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in preils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness- besides the other htings, what comes uipon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”
In Romans 8:18, Paul weighs present sufferings over against future glory. He declares future glory far outweighs the present sufferings.
Notice the future glory will not be revealed “to” us. It will be revealed “in” us. GOD has already placed his glory in us right now. When we leave this world of suffering at death, we will see this glory in us manifested. It will far outweigh all of the suffering we have experienced and endured in “this life.”
I just read a book by Tim Challies, “Seasons of Sorrow: the pain of loss and the comfort of GOD.” Tim writes about his intense emotional pain and struggling after the unexpected death of his son Nick, who was a 20 year old ministry student at Boyce College in Louisville, KY. Nick was engaged in an activity with his sister and other students when he suddenly collapsed and died.
In reviewing this book, Alistair Begg wrote, “Tim Challies has taken us into his confidence by writing with such self-searching honesty. It is a painful pleasure to be invited into these sacred moments of grief and to be helped by the reminder that GOD is too kind ever to be cruel and too wise ever to make a mistake.”
On pages 64-65, Challies writes, “I visited Nick today, as I do each Sunday. And as I stood by his grave, by that unmarked little patch of disturbed earth where his body lies, I felt gratitude. Even though my tears, even through my sobs, I felt my heart warm with love for you and the gift you gave me. So I want to say thank you. Thank you for giving me my son. Thank you for entrusting him to me. I acknowledge that he was your chld before he was my child. You loved him long before I first saw him, first held him, first knew him. Thank you for the honor it was to raise him, to care for him, to love him. Thank you for forgiving him, for saving him. Thank you that though he is not in my home, he is in yours. Thank you that though he is absent from his body, he is present with the LORD. Thank you for the assurance you’ve given that you didn’t first take him from me, but first took him for yourself. Thank you for the certainly I have that his arrival in your presence was a gain far greater than the loss of his departure from my own.”
While reading Challies book, I was reminded that the eternal perspective of Romans 8:18 should be ours as well: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”