This is a familiar verse that most have heard or read many, many times. It was written by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. Christians in the twenty-first century have very little idea of the sufferings of the ancient saints. We know little about being outcast, persecutes, despised and slain. Yet, Paul considered these to be of very little meaning when compared with the glory that was yet to come.
We cannot put ourselves back in the days of Paul. Yet, even today, we seem to have our share of suffering. There are governments in financial distress, jobs being lost, homes being foreclosed, cars being repossessed and factories being shut down. There is still war and the threat of terrorism, while diminished, is still with us. Many of us are facing sufferings on a more personal level in the form of health issues, difficult relationships, families being lost or torn apart, and people seeking solace in alcohol or drugs. Think of your own current sufferings.
They may be much alike: an upcoming surgery that, while minor, frightens us, a retirement account that dwindles at the whim of Wall Street, and a loved one living far away. They certainly seem pretty ordinary, and surely are not on a par with being outcast or slain. Yet they are difficult, and we all, to a greater or lesser degree, have them.
When we spend too much time thinking about out troubles, we simply become weighted down and carry a heavy burden with us wherever we go. If we speak of them incessantly, our friends and loved ones often become annoyed or tend to draw away from us. So, while due caution and making the right choices is extremely important, carrying worries and cares on our shoulders is self defeating. It’s far easier said than done, yet we can do it.
The past is the past and there is nothing we can do now to change it. We can remember the good times and regret the difficult times, but it is done. The only thing we can change is now and the future. We cannot vow to make yesterday a better day, but we can tomorrow. We cannot pray that 1994 had been a better year, but we can pray that 2013 might be. We can set goals and make plans. We can do our best to conquer the problems of today and build a brighter future.
Yet, even the brightness we might be able to build pales in comparison to the glory that God will reveal to us. This is not anything that we can even imaging. If we think of the most beautiful things we know – gardens, sunshine, babies, kittens, sunrises – we are not even coming close. The Rev. Dr. Charles P. Sigel, Professor Emeritus of Greek and New Testament at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia explained it to me as going from the basement up into the living room. He compares our lives with living in the dimness of a basement and the glory to be revealed as that of a comfortable, beautiful living room.
Even this analogy may not do it justice. We do not know and we cannot know. Yet, when it is finally revealed to us, we shall know, and we shall see the glory of God before us in His eternal kingdom.
You might also like to read:
- Broad Brook Bible Study Examiner, Grace Dooley
- Evangelical Examiner, Jake Jones
- Atlanta Christian Living Examiner, Taylor Powell
- Atlanta Bible Study Examiner, Donna Sundblad
- Kentucky Bible Study Examiner, Timothy Edwards
- Bible Verse of the Day
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series
If you enjoyed this bible study, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage