The research is shouting!
Social media is crippling us with comparison. Our activities, finances, homes and appearance never seem to measure up to the sound bites and snapshots of other people as we scroll through our feeds.
There is one comparison that is good for us.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. (Romans 8:18) Paul, the writer of Romans, is not denying the existence of suffering, but he is saying that our current suffering is nothing WHEN COMPARED to the glory to come.
My suffering is not “nothing” and does not feel like “nothing.” The same is true for you. Our suffering is real and it hurts! God knows every ounce of our pain and knows every tear we shed. That is not what this verse is saying.
There will be a day when the curtain is drawn on time. The history of earth will be over and God will restore heaven and earth. Every last speck of sin and death that still existed when the curtain closed will be gone. And on that future day, when we compare the suffering of our lifetimes to eternity, the suffering will suddenly be as “nothing compared to the glory.”
That day is not far off.
If we knew all of our problems were going to end tonight at midnight, would we suddenly see suffering differently? Yes! Our whole day would change. Stress would lift off our shoulders at the prospect of illness ending at midnight, bills being paid, relationships being made right and homes being repaired! We would relax and not be burdened my our present problems.
Compared to forever, our life spans are of no length at all — mere specks of dust. And get this; compared to forever, the entire history of the world is also a speck of dust! “Tomorrow,” all of today’s struggles will be over. This is the truth. With eyes of faith, we can see it. Even logically and mathematically, comparing length-of-life to forever leads us to the same conclusion as those living with eyes of faith.
Comparing life to eternity breeds hope.
I was listening to this thought-provoking podcast recently. The guest, Dr. Curt Thompson, was explaining that only humans struggle with our suffering because we wonder when and if relief will come. Suffering animals don’t ask, “How long with this pain last?” We experience our suffering within a time-construct that animals do not. Therefore, to know suffering will end quickly gives us hope! I think the guest is onto something.
To consistently compare our suffering to the blissful eternity that awaits allows us to live with hope. Only humans can have such hope. Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” When we see life as short — which it is — our suffering is in perspective and does not become all-consuming.
This comparison allows us to live with purpose.
Living with eternity in mind also keeps us keenly aware that our purpose in life is to guide people toward our Savior, Jesus. We want to see as many people in heaven as possible before time ends. So we stop wallowing in our suffering and live authentically as followers of Christ to all we know. As the apostle Paul also writes later in Romans:
The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Romans 13:12-13a
Let’s keep this comparison alive!
Picture Explanation: No matter how small or tall we are, our lives matter and connect. Let the skies and mountains remind us that we are part of something larger than ourselves.
Speaking of recognizing the brevity of life compared to eternity: If you are interested in being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and send me an email so I can place you on a list to be contacted as online and face-to-face studies are planned. Let’s not just focus on things in this short life, but also what counts for eternity!
Note: No part of my posts are derived from A.I. Thoughts and writing stem from my mind and heart as I process life week-by-week and continue to grow in my understanding of God and how to apply His wisdom to the world around me.
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