Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Here we have one of the best keys to a happy life in the here and now. It is precisely in line with what Jesus told His disciples: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We won’t get down over what we’re going through if we understand that it’s not worth comparing to what is to come! I frequently deal with people who can only see the issue that is right in front of them, and it looks like a huge mountain to them. The thing is, if they are able to trust God with the issue, they will look back on it later and realize it was a step up the Lord was providing so that they could get closer to Him, and it certainly wasn’t so high as it had looked at the time. As Paul realized, when our focus is on the future God has already provided for us, the mistakes of our past and the struggles of the present fade into unimportance.
I can’t say that I have this down perfectly myself yet, but I’m certainly growing. Dealing with so many people who struggle in this area helps me see what’s going on in my own life, but sometimes those people are the very thing I need to realize isn’t such a big deal! The vast majority of my struggles are related to people, but people are why God created the universe, they are why Jesus came and died, so I must not complain. After all, I’ve put Him through worse than they are doing to me! As I counsel others to focus on Christ rather than on themselves and their problems (Hebrews 12:1-3) I must not fall into the trap of thinking that because I teach truth I’ve got it mastered myself. The Lord has told me personally to rest, relax, and rejoice. I will succeed in doing that only to the degree that I maintain the attitude that Paul expresses here.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for the CDs of Graham Cooke that I was able to listen to yesterday. He dealt with this issue in considerable depth, and I need to listen to that set again. Like him, may I be faithful both to communicate and live out the truth You have revealed to me, so that many may be built up as Your children, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!