Suffering is guaranteed, but so is glory
by Lauren Petty, Entrust women's ministry training learner
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18)
Something is terribly wrong. His face is as white as a sheet. When I touch his hands, they feel like ice. My thoughts are racing. What if I lose my only brother?
Read the rest of the story in John 11:1-44. Paul’s words from this verse in Romans may need a story to help us understand what he is saying about suffering.
When I read this story through Mary's eyes, I cannot help but wonder, what were those four days like after Lazarus died? It says Jesus comes four days after her brother dies. We do not have to wonder what she is thinking, for she cries out to Jesus through a flood of tears, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:32)
Mary then sees two incredible sights: the God of the universe is brought to tears by the pain of death (John 11:35) and her dead brother is alive again (John 11:44). Mary's story reveals the truth of Romans 8:18. Suffering is guaranteed (see: every page in the Bible!). But so is glory.
Pain confused me for the longest time because I thought "good people" should not suffer. But I can tell you today that I know Jesus loves me because of hardships I have walked through. He has met me in the darkest of places, the deepest of losses and in situations where I still have questions. God has given me some incredible gifts: singleness, financial difficulty, rejection from friends/relationships/job opportunities and the loss of loved ones (who really loved Jesus!). I have prayed with all my heart for God to get me "out" of those heartaches. I now know that if I had traded them in, I would have missed out on so much of Jesus.
Would you dare to trust this promise? The promise that says that God is not wasting a second of your pain. Something marvelous that you cannot see right now is behind the curtain. Just because you cannot see it now does not mean it is not coming.
1. What are some disappointments or pain have you experienced recently?
2. Read Hebrews 4:15 and Isaiah 53. These passages promise we have a God who is familiar with the pain we experience in life. So in your disappointment ask him, "Lord, when did you feel this way?" (For example, "Jesus, when did you feel rejected?" See John 1:11).
3. Where are some other places that you find the words suffering and glory in the New Testament?
4. Are you discouraged? Are you tired? Are you weary of holding on for the "glory that is to be revealed?” Read in Hebrews 11 about the lives of many who have gone before us who hoped in what they could not see.
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