Summary: "while the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it." Helen Keller Today we will see that: Our Present Sufferings Will Not Last – (v. 18) Our Promised Future Will Not End – (v. 23) Our Patient Hope Will Be Our Strength (v. 25)
What are you going through today? Do you feel like giving up, throwing up your hands and quitting?
Do you struggle with…
· Financial Burdens – Can meet the bills
· Physical Burden’s – Sick or struggling with addiction
· Relational Burden’s – Broken marriage, friendship or other relationship
· Emotional Burden’s – Depressed, Desperate and Broken
· While the promises of God are many, there is never the promise that life will be easy; actually the promise is the opposite. (Mt. 26:11 (Always have the poor), (Mt 10:34 Did not come to bring peace but a sword), (Luke 9:23 take up his cross daily)
o Helen Keller once said – “While the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it!”
o When asked why the righteous suffer, CS Lewis replied – “Why not? They are the only ones who can handle it.”
· None of us will escape life’s pain and suffering, so the question today is – “what keeps us going when things are difficult?” HOPE!!!
GK Chesterton – “Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all… As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be strength.”
Have you lost your hope today?
Today we have a new hope! Our hope is in the full and final redemption of all things.
This redemption is our promise that…
Our Present Sufferings Will Not Last – (v. 18)
Our Promised Future Will Not End – (v. 23)
Our Patient Hope Will Be Our Strength (v. 25)
I. Our Present Sufferings Will Not Last (v. 18, 23-25)
Paul’s Words –
v. 18 “I consider” –
To consider means to think about in order to make a decision. As such Paul did not just suffer randomly, but rather stopped to think about his suffering.
READ OF Paul’s sufferings – “2 Corinthians 11:23-28”
These are the events Paul was considering and contrasting with God’s promises.
v. 18 “Present sufferings” –
The word present means “NOW.” Paul says that he has considered the sufferings he is facing now.
I love the word present because that is what it is – a gift from God. The present of today…
Present is not the past or the future, it is the now, the present can not last forever.
v. 18 “Not worth comparing” –
Paul’s conclusion as he weighs the sufferings he experienced vs. the eternal reward that was promised is that there is no comparison.
I can remember the last day of school as a kid. The halls were filled with excitement as we waited on the bell. It did not matter how hot it got or how much work we were asked to do. We knew that when that final bell rung we were free and our freedom would last for months – irrevocable!
Paul is expressing a similar understanding of this life and it’s present sufferings, that while it may get hot and it may get hard that is not even on your mind, your hope is in the bell that is about to ring. This is proven in the fact that 17 years later, I can remember the wonderful anticipation of the final bell and cannot remember a single assignment… J
Remember the only reason I could continue in the heat of summer on that last day was because I was convinced at 2:06 the bell would ring and it would be over, do you believe the bell will ring?
Like Paul, have you taken time to consider your sufferings? To contrast them with the promises of God?
Do you really believe in the promises of God? (1 Cor. 2:9 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”)
Today God asked me to tell you that things will not always be this way, that no matter what happens there is still hope.
Paul considered being shipwrecked, broke, hungry, beaten and left for dead, homeless and exhausted and persecuted unto death to be nothing in light of the promises of God. (Neh. 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”)
WHAT ABOUT YOU? DO YOU HAVE HOPE? YOUR SUFFERINGS ARE PRESENT AND NOT ETERNAL THEY WILL NOT LAST FOREVER!
Transition: So we see that our present struggles will not last…
I. Our Promised Future Will Not End (v. 18, 23-25)
Read v. 23 –
Paul is describing all of creations longing for the day of the Lord’s restoration. (2 Peter 3:13 “we are looking forward to a new Heaven and a new Earth, the home of righteousness.”)
God is not only interested restoring humanity but all of creation! Humanity happens to be the pinnacle of that creation.