Summary: This present world is broken and wearing out, but God has a glorious future prepared for those who love him.

What lies in your future? How are you going to live in-between?

If you had known me 3 years ago, you would have never guessed that I was going to become a youth minister!! If you had known me 10 years ago, you would have never guessed that I was going to wait soooo long to get married!!! And if you know me now, you will have guessed that it’s going to be a long time before I’m a mother!!! When we think about future we are thinking about what is going to be or come, after this present time And to think about the future can be really exciting all the opportunities that could be all the different pathways you can take. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could actually knew what your career would be you could take all the right subjects could just study really hard for the subjects that count ... it would be great Or what about knowing if you are going to have a marriage partner and who will it be No more awkwardness when you break up ... no more feeling like you’ve been messed around just a real peace about what the future will hold ... a peace that comes from knowing It’s the same deal with your promotion at work ... if you knew you were going to be promoted in a particular office ... you could suck up to the right boss read up on the right subjects practice the interview with questions that would obviously involve your new promotion Wouldn’t it be great to know the future ... to have peace about what lies ahead (PAUSE) ...(SLOWLY) However the future isn’t always that exciting or even something to look forward to could find out that you’re going to get cancer or that one of your children will die before you do or that you will go bankrupt Where is the peace of mind in those outcomes?

Well what does your future hold’? what are you hoping it will hold happiness?? a good life?? not heaps of pain and suffering thanks A good marriage?? Good marks at school?? A long and satisfying career???? What are you hoping that your future will look like?? Well today I’m not going to tell you what your future holds I don’t even know what my own holds, let alone anyone else’s. Today though I want to talk about the future that is what lies ahead, what is to come after this present time And by the way what would you say if I told you, you were going to have a glorious future, an amazing future What if I told you that you can have peace and assurance for whatever lies in the future ... including the hard stuff like death or sickness or pain How would you respond if I told you that? Well let’s have a look at our passage from Romans 8:18-30 as this gives some answers

Read with me from verse 18 (READ verse 18) The sufferings of this present time You don’t have to think too long or too hard to understand the concept of pain and suffering ...At various times you would have felt it ... your neighbour would have felt it ... Your mother ... your father would have faced it ... Suffering is all over the world But if we continue reading we see I think that suffering is not just limited to people it also includes the creation around us Read with me from verse 19 (READ verse 19 to 21a) A creation that was subjected to futility ...a creation that is in bondage to decay Again I don’t think we need to think too hard about the suffering creation we’re living in it ... we see it all the time in the natural disasters ... the tsunamis ... the earthquakes ... the ozone gases ... the world we live in is suffering the creation is suffering

And as we’ve already picked up it’s also people suffering or groaning inwardly read with me from verse 23 (READ verse 23) At PIG STY we are sponsoring 2 children the youth and the leaders are each sponsoring a child and reading the descriptions of the countries they are living in is mind- blowing life expectancy for example in one country was a low as 43 years old for blokes You see the adds on TV all the time people who are starving to death I’m a nurse in my spare time from my youth job and I was looking after a patient a 39 year-old-female. When I cared for her ... she had been told the day before that she was riddled with cancer In the operation they had opened her up and closed her again without any further intervention she had been given 3 to 6 months to live She had 2 kids the youngest at 18months came in to visit I had to walk out of the room I wasn’t able to control my deep feelings of sorrow for this woman who was dying Suffering is happening all over the world But it’s not limited to others ... to people overseas all of us will have to face suffering at some point in our lives Indeed most of you will have faced it already ... the death of a loved one ... the terminal illness of anther being bullied at school Marriage difficulties Suffering is happening all around the world So what does this leave us with? Is life just about suffering and we need to get on with it ... deal with it ... move on ... ignore it ... What are we supposed to do with the reality around us that both the creation and people in the creation are suffering

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