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.
As a pastor, it seems to me that an increasing number of Christians are suffering more heartache and tragedies than ever before. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear of a marriage that is in trouble. Like me, you can probably name right now several people who have been recently diagnosed with cancer. It seems like I am doing more and more funerals not just for senior adults who have lived out their allotted time, but for those who were, in our view, taken prematurely in death. It does not matter whether suffering is precipitated by disease, divorce, or death–the question that always comes with suffering is the question, “Why?”
Recently, I was talking with a very close friend in the church who is going through his own period of trial. He said, “All week I have been asking God the question, ‘Why, Lord? Why are You allowing me to go through this?’” Oh, he knew all the theological answers, but he still asked the question: “Why, Lord?”
There are some of you right now reading these words who know what I am talking about when I speak about suffering and trials in your life. And if you are asking why these things are happening to you, I believe Romans 8 will not only give you some answers, but more importantly, it will provide you with some reassuring hope. Don’t we all need a dose of hope right now? We are going to get that in Romans 8. In Romans 8, we discover how God will one day take all our hurts and turn them into hallelujahs.
In Romans 8, we see the three birthmarks of a genuine believer in Christ. If you are truly a believer in Christ, then you will possess, first of all, an inward power that gives you victory over sin in your life. Second, if you are in Christ, you will possess an intimate relationship with God. God is your Daddy, your Papa, your Father. Third, if you are a true believer, you will also be the recipient of inherited wealth. Most of the inheritance you have as a child of God is still future. Look at Romans 8:17: “If children, [we are] heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” In this verse, the Greek construction of the word “if” is better translated “because.” Paul was saying that we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, because we suffer with Him.” Suffering is not an option if you are a believer. It is going to happen in your life. Paul was saying, “Yes, there is an inheritance that is coming, but before that, there is suffering that comes.”
That led Paul into a discussion of suffering–a topic he explored in verses 18 to 27. What was Paul’s perspective on suffering? He said, “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” (8:18).