Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
If you have ever seen a tapestry, a beautiful piece of art, you may notice on one side its beautiful pattern. But if you ever look at the back of the tapestry you will see something in stark contrast. It’s chaotic with tangled threads going in all directions. If you look first at the back of the tapestry you could be disillusioned in thinking that it’s just a tangled mess. If you only ever look at the back of the tapestry you miss the beauty on the other side. But when you flip the tapestry over and reveal the front you may be surprised to see the work of art that has been there all along. It’s all dependent upon which side of the tapestry you’re looking at whether you see a mess or a masterpiece.
The passage in Romans 8 opens up with Paul addressing the sufferings of the present time. On the surface it’s easy to think Paul is addressing a cultural difficulty that had arisen at the time or maybe even a doctrinal mishap that had occurred in the church. But Paul was instead addressing the suffering that comes as consequence due to the sin and the fall of man. Suffering happens regardless of who you are, where you live, or what generation you’re born into. Suffering happens because it’s a direct consequence of sin.
So often I have looked at life and thought, what a mess! It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of life. It seems as if our whole world is marked with struggle. Wars wage, natural disasters destroy, abuse of power runs rampant, crimes go unpunished. And then there are the personal struggles that we face. Marriages fail, jobs are lost, loved ones hurt us, health fails. It all can seem too much at times. But in the same verse where suffering is mentioned Paul makes a bold statement, it is not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Paul goes on to say that the whole creation will be set free from the bondage that we find ourselves in due to sin. In Christ Jesus bodies are redeemed, hope is restored, and sin is overcome! In Christ Jesus suffering is temporary but life is eternal. From the beginning of time God has been weaving a beautiful tapestry that spans all of time. Our lives from where we are standing now often looks like the back of the tapestry, a chaotic mess. But one day in eternity God will turn the tapestry over and reveal the beautiful masterpiece He has been weaving all along showing that nothing, a single thing, was out of place.
Don’t be discouraged or dismayed at the present suffering you may be facing, instead have hope in the glory that is to come! We live in a fallen world but God is not finished with us yet!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, help me to fix my eyes on you! When trials come and suffering is overwhelming, help me to shift my focus and be rooted in the hope that only comes from you! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.