Today's Reading: Romans 8:18-23
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Faith does not rescue you from suffering. To the contrary, faith comes through suffering, since our Lord reveals Himself most clearly in suffering and the cross. Just prior to this section of Romans 8, St. Paul writes, "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him" (Romans 8:17). We become heirs of God with Christ through suffering.
But that suffering has an end. It has a purpose. Suffering points us to glory. In this context, glory is the revelation of who we are in Christ. At the present time, all of the promises of the Gospel are hidden realities. Glory hidden under suffering, saint hidden under sinner. But soon what was hidden will be revealed.
"The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us." When you are in the midst of suffering, every pain, every wound is amplified. Time stretches so that you think your suffering will never end. But when it does end, you look back on it as a slight, momentary affliction--only a flash in your memory.
So it is with this present life in the world. It is a life of suffering. Faith doesn't rescue you from suffering. But faith in the promises of Christ sustain you in your suffering and propel you to its end.
What is the end, the goal of suffering? "We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Romans 8:23). "The redemption of our bodies" is Paul's way of saying the resurrection of the body. It is the new creation. Like a woman in labor, the sufferings of this life are the necessary pains of giving birth. But as a woman's labor ends in the appearance of a new life, so also the sufferings of this present time evaporate in the revelation of the resurrection. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Now in Christ, death cannot slay me, Though it might Day and night, Trouble and dismay me. Christ has made my death a portal From the strife Of this life To His joy immortal! (Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me, LSB 756:5)