We suffer now because we and the world are fallen, but what lies ahead is nothing less than the revelation of God’s glory in all things.
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Today we are going to take a closer look at verses 18 & 19.
The sufferings of this world are enormous, overwhelming. Our news is full of awful stories of tragedies and suffering – earthquakes, bushfires, cyclones, violence, and hatred. Paul and his fellow workers faced huge suffering for their faith – persecution, hardship, floggings, imprisonment, and death. Our own lives are touched, sometimes defined by suffering. This world is indeed a dark place with much to make us fearful and even at times despairing. Even in the minutest detail of our lives, things inevitably go wrong. Even our best efforts to be our best selves fail.
But God says these things do not define us – what awaits us is what defines us as co heirs with Christ.
That’s how Paul is able to say that these present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The glory that awaits us and that we wait for must be pretty amazing, to outweigh these present sufferings.
When we struggle in the midst of suffering, and long to see things different – to see this world and its people be what they should be instead of what they are, we are not alone. Creation itself is alongside us and also longing, as we are, for the suffering to be done, and for everything (especially ourselves) to be set right, and be as it should.
We know, and the world itself knows that it will come – we long for it, don’t we? It’s hard, frustrating. Paul says that even the suffering of waiting, the asking “how long, oh Lord?” will be totally outshone by the glory that lies ahead -the glory that we can only know because of God’s grace towards us.
Head: What sufferings do you find difficult at present – both in external circumstances and internal struggles?
Heart: Are you frustrated, impatient, eager for God’s glory to be revealed? How does it make you feel to consider that creation itself is eagerly awaiting seeing you revealed in glory as God’s child?
Hands: How will the anticipation of the glorious future that awaits you impact your life today? What difference will it make to what you say, think and do?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you have made this world. Thank you for all of creation, and that it so profoundly reflects in physical form the spiritual reality of this world, waiting eagerly for your full glory to be revealed. Lord, you know my present sufferings and struggles. Thank you that you see, know and truly understand them. Thank you also that something so much better lies ahead. Thank you that you will restore this world, and me, to all that we were meant to be. I look forward to seeing the fullness of your glory revealed in this way.
A song to listen to: C.S.Lewis Song
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Must See Passages series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.