“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility,.. in hope 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. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” Romans 8:18-24
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh…
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-11,16-18
Sufferings of the present time, deep and agonizing afflictions of body and soul, feel as though they are wasted when we see a life waste away. But Christian hope tells us otherwise. Hope borne in Christ says these are not worthy to be compared with the weight of glory to come, they are light and momentary in view of everlasting. We suffer in physical futility, but God mysteriously translates that to spiritual longing for the fullness of what we were made to be. He will, through the pain, so unite us with Jesus that by His grace, we will manifest His life, even in the groaning.
As we wait eagerly for redemption, for release from this world’s bondage to pain and suffering, will we tether our hope to God’s promises? Though weary in soul for all the wretched fallout of sin and death, will we determine not to lose heart? Christ’s love that took Him to death on a cross surrounds and comforts us in an unbreakable grip.
“O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee.
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.
O Light that follows all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee.
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
may brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee.
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and know the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.” ~George Matheson (1882)
Loving Lord, help me trace Your rainbow through every downpour of suffering and sorrow, with eyes fixed on the tearless morn that is to come. All glory is Yours.