Present Suffering – Future Glory

Read: Romans 8:18-27

It is impossible for anyone to go through life without experiencing some form of suffering, pain, or heartache. No one likes those experiences and we don’t wish them on anyone but they do keep our hearts and minds on the future hope of healing, restoration, and glory. Sometimes those are experienced in this life and at other times they are experienced in the presence of Jesus.

Paul said that these “present sufferings” are not even comparable to the future glory that is ahead for Christians. He goes on to say that it is in this hope of restoration and glory that we are saved.  Finally he says, “We wait for it patiently.”  Some of our experiences in that time of waiting can be affected by our attitude and outlook. Do we complain about our current situation or do we look forward to what God might have up ahead?

I recently heard a story about a time that American inventor and businessman Thomas Edison’s laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire in December, 1914. Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof. Much of Edison’s life’s work went up in spectacular flames that December night.

At the height of the fire, Edison’s 24-year old son, Charles, frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris. He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. “My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67 – no longer a young man – and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, “Charles, where’s your mother?” When I told him I didn’t know, he said, “Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.”

The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver his first phonograph. Edison also invented the electric light, the video camera, and many other popular things we use today. I can’t comment on Edison’s faith in God but his comment about our mistakes being burned up and starting anew is definitely a Christian concept found in scripture.

Jesus gives us the grace and forgiveness to move on from our mistakes and our present suffering and look ahead to his restoration. We can be restored in this life for sure but we also look forward to the future glory that awaits us in heaven.  Paul says that Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness and refocus our eyes on what is ahead. No matter what you face today, this week, or this year, no matter what you have been through in the past, Jesus Christ can help you through it and offer you a brand new start in the future.  And someday, our future glory awaits!

Make it Personal:  What is it that you need to give to God right now? Something you are currently going through or something from your past? Find value in learning from your mistakes and current sufferings in hope of what Jesus has planned for your future. His grace is sufficient and his strength will make you strong.

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church