Faith column: The reality of suffering
Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Despite the many benefits of a technologically advanced society, we have not eliminate suffering, no will we ever be able to. Suffering is part of what it means to be human; it is part of inhabiting this universe. To be human, to live on this planet in this universe is to understand that life is full of risk, and one of the risks we take every day is that we might suffer. No matter what we do, people get sick, accidents happen, and people die.
Even though this is part of human existence, in the last eighteen months we have learned that a sizable portion of the world’s population believe that we should never have to suffer, that the world can somehow be free of a virus. They further believe that until we reach the point where there is no risk of being infected, we must never go anywhere, we must wear a mask, worship remotely, stay six feet from one another, and take an experimental vaccine. Matt Walsh recently wrote, “It’s just not possible to have a functioning human society if millions of people have decided that they are not willing to tolerate even the slightest physical risk.”
The question that is on my mind is why? Why are so many so scared and willing to give up basic freedoms for the illusion of safety? I have asked this question over and over during the last year and a half. The reason is that many of these that are scared are godless. You see, without God, what is the purpose of suffering? If one is devoid of God in their life, if they are living life in pursuit of pleasure and their own happiness, then disease, virus, disaster, accidents and death become a frightful thing. Because without God there is no purpose in suffering and there is no future.
Paul understood this as he wrote these words here in Romans 8:18 to the church at Rome. Paul understood that the suffering we experience in this life ultimately has a purpose, if we are believers in the one true God. The suffering that Paul is specifically referencing here is the suffering of those who are Christ followers. Being a Christ-follower is more than just liking Jesus on Facebook. It is following Him and that means being obedient to the Word of God. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” To be a Christ-follower is to have the desire to live a life that honors Him and it is to understand that suffering is a part of this fallen world.
Suffering is a reality because it is the result of man’s sinfulness. Sin is man’s rebellion against God and the result of the Fall of Man in Genesis chapter 3 is that this world, in fact all of creation, is under a curse. But the good news is that we can be set free from this curse, from the penalty of sin, which ultimately is death. Romans 8:21 says “that the creation itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
If you have never repented of your sins and believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then the suffering of this world has no purpose. There is no greater hope for you, all that you have to look to is an eternity in hell separated from God. At this moment you are completely separated from God because of your sin. Because of that separation the sufferings that you experience in this life can seem very daunting and in fact overwhelming. Paul says in verse 18 here in Romans “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” If you believe in Jesus Christ, then anything you may endure in this “present time” is nothing in comparison to the glory to come.
Why is the world so scared? Because the world for the most part is without God and without God there is no hope. The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Without God there is no hope and without hope the trials and tribulations of this life become overwhelming. I encourage you to place your trust this day in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and trust Him from this day forward as your Lord and Savior. Do not delay, it says in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is ‘THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,’ behold, now is ‘THE DAY OF SALVATION.’”
Tim Adams, Pastor/Elder Sovereign Grace Community Church of the Yampa Valley
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