Summary: The dreaded waiting room - filled with anticipation and uncertainty. What if you could take away that uncertainty - knowing what the outcome was going to be? Great! That's what God does as we wait for heaven. He reveals the outcome and it's glorious!
Do you enjoy the waiting room? I’ve had a lot of experience in waiting rooms throughout the years. As nice and comfortable as hospitals and doctors’ offices attempt to make them, I don’t know of anyone who really looks forward to sitting in a waiting room. It is always a place filled with anticipation. Whether you are the person waiting to be called back, or the person waiting for news from a doctor or surgeon on how things are going, how much longer its going to take, and finally what the results were, there is anticipation. So you find people staring at those TV screens with color-coded names and numbers, times and locations, all wondering the same things, “How much longer? How is this going to turn out?” But the wait is certainly worth it when you finally receive the news that everything went just as they had planned and the outcome was exactly what they were hoping for. What a relief. The wait is over and the outcome was good.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could know that the outcome was going to be good WHILE you were sitting in the waiting room? It might not necessarily make the waiting easier, but I think that it would certainly make it more bearable, knowing that the wait was going to be worth it. That’s actually what God does for his people in this life. You might picture our lives in this world like sitting in a waiting room. And at some point the wait is going to be over and our lives will to come to an end. But the Lord has already come out and told us what the outcome is going to be. The outcome might be summarized with a single word, “Glorious.” Glorious is what you can expect.
That’s a little different than life in this waiting room of a world. Don’t get me wrong. It can be comfortable and enjoyable at times. God gives us lots of really good things to experience and to do and to see. But if we’re honest with ourselves, I don’t think that we would necessarily call this life glorious. No one has ever said to me when I asked them how they’re doing, “Glorious.” Instead, did you notice the word that the Apostle Paul uses to describe life for the Christian? In Romans 8:18 he says, “I consider that our present sufferings…” (Romans 8:18). “Sufferings” is the word used to describe the Christian in this life. But the suffering that Paul is refereeing to here is not the suffering that comes from disease or loss or those type of things. In this section he is specifically talking about the suffering that comes into our lives as a result of living our Christians lives, battling against our sinful natures and standing up to the devil’s temptations. That’s hard. You think about the temptations that we face and how hard it can be do the things that God wants us to do. It’s hard to daily fight the selfish impulses of our sinful natures, being more concerned about winning the argument and proving that we’re right, than patiently listening and learning. It is a struggle to follow God’s design when it comes to human sexuality and marriage, especially in a world that sees very little use for what God says, even going so far as to claim that God’s design is not only restrictive, but unreasonable. It’s hard to trust the Lord’s promises that he is going to use all things for your good when your world seems to be crashing down all around you, the loss of a loved one, a marriage on the rocks, children who should know better than what they’re doing,
Yes, there is plenty of suffering and struggling for the Christian in this life. And sometimes the “glorious” that God promises seems so very, very far away. We might even begin to wonder if the wait, the struggles and the sufferings are worth it. Maybe we even wonder if the glorious is really waiting for us at the end of all this suffering.
That’s when we need to read the rest of verse 18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). There is nothing uncertain about the outcome. There is no, “the glory that might/maybe/probably/possibly could be revealed in us.” No! The result is absolutely certain. “The glory that WILL be revealed in us.” In fact, this glorious result was certain even BEFORE you began waiting for it. That would be like getting a letter in the mail from a doctor with the results of a surgery BEFORE you even knew that you were going to be having surgery. That would certainly make the waiting room experience a little different. Yes, you’d still have to sit in the waiting room, but you could do so with the confidence of knowing how it was going to turn out.