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Summary: We are patiently waiting for and expecting the day for when our pain and suffering is taken away and we truly become one of God’s children.

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Romans 8:18 – 25 reads, “For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for one what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

The apostle Paul was a realist. He wasn’t a pie-in-the-sky preacher or philosopher when it came to living out our lives on this planet. He knew what suffering was and he knew it was a very real part of human existence. That’s what we read today in Scripture. We hear that there are, “sufferings of this present time;” that we, along with all creation, are in a, “bondage of corruption” and that the whole creation, “groans and labors with birth pangs.”

It would not be hard to look around or look at our own lives and think of some of the suffering that others or ourselves have gone through. Not only has our sufferings and pain been physical but psychological and spiritual as well. The word for sufferings used here is the same word used for passion or intense feelings. The suffering that Paul is talking about here is not just any stubbed toe or wounded pride. Paul is talking about sharp and intense pain that we experience on all levels of our lives.

But despite the intense and aggravating pain we go through Paul tells us that these things we are going through are, “not worthy” or of, “comparable value” to the weight and majesty of God, that is – His glory. And to the Jewish hearers of Paul’s message they would agree that the righteous would suffer and eventually be rewarded. However, they took it a step too far. They thought that their suffering could atone or pay for the sins they had committed. They thought they would be able to bargain with God, thinking something like, “I’ll give you two hurt feelings for a forgiveness of lying….”

But Paul is clear. Our suffering is not any way to pay for our mistakes. Sure, we may suffer as a result of our brokenness. Our hearts may throb with pain that has been inflicted and the reality is that the human condition means that we will be continually experiencing weakness and suffering. YEAHHHHH! Isn’t that great? Thanks for the pep-talk Paul. It’s a good thing he doesn’t stop here. Paul reminds us that there is something to hold on to and that something is hope.

Christian author and scholar C.S. Lewis was once asked, “Why do the righteous suffer?” “Why not?’ he replied. “They’re the only ones who can take it.” It’s that part about, “taking it” that is tough isn’t it? But Paul tells us that all this intense and extreme suffering is, “not worthy” or “of comparable value” to God’s glory.

But what is so special about God’s glory? Is it that stuff we see shining off of cartoon halos? Is it God’s raw power? What is it? I want you to picture something in your mind. Think of or try to remember the first time you saw mountains or the Grand Canyon or one of the oceans for the first time. Imagine the sheer size of it. Maybe you didn’t realize how big it was until you got closer to it. But now I want you to imagine yourself going up to the base of that mountain, the edge of that canyon or the shoreline of that ocean. I want you to reach down and try to pick it up. That’s right, try to get a grip and lift it. Impossible you think? That’s right, it is. And that is what the glory of God is like. Vast, beautiful, amazing and of infinite weight. And guess what, that very same glory will be revealed in us when God comes again.

The question is, are we expecting it? Do we think it will happen? Paul tells us creation, that includes us believers, is in eager expectation and that we are eagerly waiting for that moment when we will be fully the children of God. But what will happen when He comes? Yes that awesome and majestic glory will be revealed in us by God, but what then? Paul tells us that creation itself will also be delivered from the bondage of corruption; we will be delivered into freedom as children of God.

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