Summary: Life is filled with Suffering, but we as Christians know what lies ahead!
A pastor received a phone call late at night, it was a phone call from a member of his church who was a leader within the congregation as well as a good friend. His 16 year old daughter was coming home from her part time job when a drunk driver veered off into her lane hitting her head on and she was in critical condition with severe head injuries. The pastor rushed out to the hospital going through his mind what he might say to this desperate family but by the time he got there, the young teenage girl had tragically already passed away. The family was out in the waiting room having just received the news, the father of this young girl sat in a chair with his face buried in his hands as he cried and cried. At that time, everything the pastor had thought of saying on his way there suddenly seemed so insufficient, and the only words he could think of saying to his good friend was, “Bill, one day God’s going to put an end to all this and He is going to make all things right.” The man then looked up from his tear soaked hands and softly said, “I wish it were today. I wish it were today. ”
No doubt you have echoed those same words at some point in your life, when you have seen the pain and suffering in your life or in the life of a person you loved. We say those words when we have turned on the news and have seen stories of little kids being molested, of teen age girls celebrating their graduations murdered, families who are torn apart because of the selfishness of a spouse. We grown as we see innocent men and women who are simply going to work are targeted and blown up by young men and women possessed by an ideology of hate; and we groan. We groan and we cry out to Heaven, “Lord, will it ever end?” “Will the pain ever go away?” “Is there an end to this cycle of suffering?”
As Paul talks about life in this passage, he does not want to candy coat the pain and struggles that we go through or paint a picture of this world we are living in. Instead what he wants to do is to put them into perspective. Look again at what he says in 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Paul uses language that helps us see life as
an eternal proposition. We live here on earth for a little while, but we live forever. What Paul wants to make sure of is that we don’t get so discouraged with the difficulties of this life that we lose sight of the big picture of eternity. He says, "Don’t forget, there will be a time when there won’t be any more struggles, pain, death or tears. For those who are in Christ, there will be only joy and happiness."
In this world you will have trouble, but never forget the hope we have as Christians. Now if you are here today and you are on the verge of giving up, if you are trapped in a situation that you have deemed hopeless, please listen carefully to this message this morning and perhaps God will give you a glimpse of that hope you need.
Now this hope if vital to our existence because of the fact that this world we live in is a fallen world filled with pain and suffering. One of my favorite Peanuts cartoon strips has Schroeder, garbed in an outsized catcher’s mask and chest protector, striding out to the mound. He hands Charlie Brown the baseball, and laments, "The bases are loaded again, and there’s still nobody out." "So what do you think?" Charlie Brown asks. Schroeder ponders the question for a moment, and replies, "We live in difficult times."
Indeed we do. Someone has said, "If it’s not one thing it’s another, and some days it’s both." The world can be a very difficult place, but it wasn’t always that way.
When God created the world, His evaluation of it was that it was good. It was a perfect world. There was no need for insulin shots, no need for tiny caskets, no divorce papers and broken families, no cancer, no heart disease, it was all good. Yet sin entered the world through the choice of Adam and Eve who deliberately disobeyed God, and as a result the world as it was stopped and the world as we see it today came to be.
This world is not evolving but devolving. The world is not what God originally designed it to be. God is not attempting to run the world properly today and failing in his efforts, instead the world exists in a fallen state. That is what the apostle means when he says that creation is subjected to futility, by God’s will. In other words, the world is under the judgment of God because of sin. And not only is it a fallen world, but it is a world that is falling apart.