Our Incomparable Glory.

The next portion of Romans 8 compares temporary suffering to eternal glory. All Christians experience suffering in varying degrees: Some faithfully serve despite chronic illness; others grieve over a straying child, unsaved spouse or parent; some persevere after losing a faithful spouse; and many are waiting to see friends they love come to Christ.

Our Personal Approach to Suffering

As our nation's attention is transfixed by two hurricanes, many people are realizing that life matters more than stuff. When a major storm is anticipated, plans are well thought out and carefully put into effect. That is what the word for "consider" means in Romans 8:18. Its Greek root is similar to our word "logic." We must carefully study and reason in the midst of suffering. If we don't get the thought process right, there is a part of our future glory that we will not understand.

To endure affliction well, we must rise above the emotion of our current circumstances, simply grasp the reality that is ours in Jesus Christ, and process through all we have and are in Him and all He has graced us with to endure. Life is a vapor (James 4:14). It goes quickly, but in suffering we need to slow down and consider the process. Proper preparation for and in affliction will keep in mind the ultimate goal: growing in maturity.

Our Perspective in Suffering

There is no safer place to be than in Jesus Christ. There are several ways we can maintain a proper perspective in suffering.

  • Owning the right identity. When we are in Christ, our suffering serves a similar purpose to His suffering (1 Peter 4:1-6): it helps remove sin from our life.
  • Realizing its brevity. Suffering in this life may be periodic or perpetual, but it is not eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17).
  • Adjusting to severity. Whether our suffering is self-inflicted or providentially allowed, our activity remains the same (1 Peter 4:14-19). Do not disrespect any level of severity.
  • Fulfilling our responsibility. Like Christ, we can be assured that we can live faithfully and mature through affliction (Hebrews 2:10).
  • Discerning the quality. Our suffering allows God's omnipotent grace to be demonstrated through us (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Next time, we will glory in the prize that is offered to those who endure suffering well.

Application Points

  • Is your mindset in the midst of suffering biblical? Is your prayer and goal to become more mature through it? Spend some time mentally preparing along the lines of the points above.

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "What God Ordains Is Always Right"

What God ordains is always right;
His will is just and holy.
He holds us in His perfect might;
In Christ our lives are godly.
He is our God and all we need,
the Father who preserves us still;
To Him we bend each heart and will.

What God ordains is always right;
And He will not deceive us.
He leads us in the way of light
And will not ever leave us.
In Him we rest, who makes the best
Of all the stumbling turns we take
And loves us for His mercy's sake.

What God ordains is always right;
All that He does is for us.
He heals our souls and gives us sight
And puts no ill before us.
Our God is true; He makes us new;
Our lives are built upon His rock,
Our cornerstone and building block.

What God ordains is always right;
He guides our joy and sadness.
He is our life and blessed light;
In Him alone is gladness.
We see His face, the way of grace;
He holds us in His mighty arm
And keeps us safe from every harm.