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Understanding Our Suffering

by | Jul 23, 2021 | Focus, Suffering, Trials

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 ESV)

This is the vision the people need. Without it, they are lost. This is the truth you and I share as Christians. Without it, life withers on the vine. This is the life-altering belief the apostle Paul knew so well—the one he lived by and the one he so eloquently shared with us in his letter to the Romans.

Paul looked down the road with faith. Faith has a certain assurance about it. It gives the believer a solid confidence to know that whatever may happen, he or she will not be disappointed (see Philippians 4:13). By faith in Christ, we are saved not from suffering, but from the distorted view of human life that regards suffering as the worst thing that could possibly happen, the end of everything.

We are human; therefore, suffering will come. But hallelujah, because Christ is the Savior, our suffering is not the end of everything. In fact, Paul says that suffering in this world—and we know how tragic and widespread this suffering can be—cannot compare with the glory that is to be revealed to us. In this we’re talking about the redemption of our bodies which will be likened unto the resurrection of the Son of God Himself, who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Yes, we know Jesus understands our suffering intimately. Enduring shame and rejection in this world on our behalf, He shouldered on the cross what no one else could: the sins of each one of us. In fact, “For our sake God made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). All who have faith in Christ, trusting and following Him, share in His hope-filled victory.

And this is no vain hope. It is no mirage or illusion. It is your destiny, my friend, in Christ. Why do you hold back? Don’t let the suffering of this present day block your view of the cross. It is there and only there—at its foot, with Christ raised high, bearing our suffering in His body—that we can find true and everlasting relief.

The writer to the Hebrews said it this way: “Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Indeed, brother and sister, draw near to the cross. His grace is for everyone.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the vision we need to see beyond our circumstances and fix our gaze on Jesus. In His Name. Amen.

From “The Vision We Need,” a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Reflection Questions:
1. Do you have a vision for your life—both long term and short term?
2. There’s a lot of suffering in this world, and Paul was no stranger to it. How do you think his faith got him through life’s difficulties on a day-by-day basis?
3. How do you maintain courage and persistence in the face of life’s struggles?