“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18
I have seen this verse do amazing things in elderly saints. I sat by the deathbed of a faithful saint, and I handed her a sticky note that had this verse written on it. She looked at it, and began to cry. She said, “Son, I am going to see God before you.” It struck me in the heart, because she was right. This verse helped her realize that all the pain, and sorrow she was going through was not only incomparable, but not worth comparing to the glory that would be revealed to her.
I wish this verse was seared into the mind of every saint. I wish that we would all store this verse in our hearts, so that when times of difficulty come (which they will) we could send for it. We could bring it to the forefront of our minds, and preach it to our troubled souls. For the Christian, the sufferings of this present time, are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.
I love specificity, and precision. So, I want to get to precisely what is being said in this text, and hopefully open up the Spirits intention in writing this for you to see. Let’s unpack it together.
He says, “For I consider”
The apostle Paul is considering the weight of his sufferings, and the weight of eternal glory. Therefore, we should consider this cosmic, and eternal scale. On the one side of the scale we have suffering, and on the other side we have eternal glory. On the one hand we have all the sufferings of this life, and on the other hand we can scarcely hold the reality of eternal glory. We can scarcely behold the reality of what’s to come. Consider this scale as we read this text.
He says, “that the sufferings” What are these sufferings he refers to?
- Loss of a loved one: We will all lose loved ones in this life, or we will be the loved one loss. Death is a very real thing in a fallen world. The amazing thing about this text, is it does not take away from how weighty, or how hard the loss of a loved one is. Yet, it does give us some substantial help in carrying the burden. Losing someone hurts, as it should, but this text assures us that it will be worth the pain in the end. The grief of this present time is not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.
- Illness: Our bodies will all fall ill at times in our lives. Even if we live long and healthy lives, at some point along the road we will have a season of illness. I know there are people who will tell you that illness is not a part of the Christians life, and this is a very painful teaching for the sick, and faithful saints. Those who say Christians won’t get sick, are lying or deceived. They are ear-ticklers who feed people’s appetite for comfort. When Paul refers to suffering, he is referring to illness. The illnesses of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.
- Persecution: On the forefront of Paul’s mind was probably persecution. Paul had seen saints martyred, had survived attempts on his life, and was jailed numerous times for the sake of the gospel. So, the sufferings of Paul’s life were radically different than ours here in America. But it is not out of the realm of possibility for the saints in America to experience some level of persecution. This is a reality when we live in a world, where the systems are set up to oppose God’s people. But, the persecutions of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.
He says, “of this present time”
As the Holy Spirit wrote these powerful words through the Apostle Paul, they carry an eternality with them. They stand forever, because the Spirit who wrote them is eternal. So, when it says, ‘of this present time’ it means, always. The sufferings of yesterday, the sufferings of today, and the sufferings of tomorrow, are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Nothing you encountered yesterday will compare to the glory that is to be revealed to the saints. Nothing you will encounter today will compare to the glory that is to be revealed to the saints. Nothing you experience tomorrow will compare to the glory that is to be revealed to the saints. Nothing is worth comparing.
He says, “are not worth comparing”
Not only are our sufferings incomparable, they aren’t even worth comparing. In the end, as we stand in eternal glory, if we can see our sufferings in this life, they will be as nothing compared to what we are experiencing in that time. We will have our Lord, high and lifted up. We will be complete, satisfied, every longing of our soul fulfilled. No more death, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears, no more funerals, no more grief, no more sin. Only inexpressible joy, and perfect peace. This is what we have to look forward to as Christians.
He says, “For the glory that is to be revealed to us.” What is this glory?
- The resurrected body: There will be a day of universal resurrection. There will not be a universal salvation. God’s people will rise in bodies imperishable. In bodies that will not get sick. In bodies that will work perfectly, forever. The sufferings of this present time, in this present body, are not worth comparing to our future resurrected bodies.
- The new heaven, and new earth: Our final destination as Christians will be on a new earth. An earth that is not affected by the consequences of sin. An earth where the curse has been reversed, and there is only peace. The sufferings of this present time, on this present earth, are not worth comparing to the new heaven, and new earth.
So, when we experience the sufferings in our lives, let this text wash over your mind. Let this text produce what is intended, joy in the midst of pain.
We have a perfect ending to look forward to.