Fifth Sunday after Easter – Tuesday
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18.
The children of God in this world do not suffer less, but more than unbelievers. For the devil and the wicked world are against them; they are also harassed by their own flesh and blood, which it is their duty to crucify and which it is also their desire to crucify; and God chastises them in Fatherly mercy, it is true; but it still smarts. The narrow way, which leads to heaven, is beset with afflictions. Where does that narrow way lead? To heaven. Ah! so it is. That comforts and quickens. The narrow way of suffering leads to heaven, to the fullness of eternal life. The broad way, the way of the ungodly world, so agreeable to flesh and blood, leads not to life, but to damnation. Therefore, as the children of God, we surely want to walk the narrow way. And the heavenly glory which has been promised to all of God’s people, that glory which awaits us at the end of the narrow way, that glory which follows upon the sufferings of this present time, that glory is so exceedingly great, and everlasting, “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with [that] glory;” these sufferings are as nothing when considered alongside of the glory of heaven.
In consideration of this glory, we are to gladly bear the sufferings which the trusty hand of God allows to visit us on our pilgrimage to heaven. These afflictions are not given us for our detriment, but for our benefit, to focus us on our need of God’s grace in order to remain “faithful” (Revelation 2:10) until the end of our earthly life. Shall we be put to shame by the ungodly people of this world who, to acquire some earthly treasure, some temporal good, often undergo grievous hardships and misery without minding these at all? Yet, how often are they disappointed in the results of all their efforts? Their earthly treasure, their fortune, may vanish away. But we, the children of God, shall not be disappointed in “the glory which shall be revealed in us” in heaven. We shall most certainly obtain the glory which shall be revealed in us; for God is true, who promises these blessings to us; He “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). And this glory of heaven is “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (I Peter 1:4); this heavenly inheritance will not vanish away from us. All other treasures vanish, but we, “the righteous” (Psalm 1:6), shall remain, by God’s grace alone, in possession of our inheritance in all eternity.
Therefore, with the glory of heaven waiting for us and all believers, continue to willingly suffer, O Christian, whatever falls to your lot. God will give you the strength to “bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13). He will give you “grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever” (Psalm 136:1)!
PRAYER – Lord, my God, right well do I know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which is to be revealed in me, yes, in me. But Thou knowest how weak and faint-hearted I am at times, and how easily I become discouraged. Have mercy upon me, faithful, gracious God, and help me, with Thy living, powerful Word, the sword of the Spirit, no matter what sufferings come into my life, to focus more and more on that “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for [me]” (I Peter 1:4). This I pray for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
This I believe, yea, rather, of this I make my boast;
that God is my dear Father, the Friend who loves me most;
and that, whate’er betide me, my Savior is at hand,
through stormy seas to guide me, and bring me safe to land.
My heart for joy is springing and can no more be sad;
‘tis full of mirth and singing, sees naught but sunshine glad.
The Sun that cheers my spirit, is Jesus Christ, my King;
that which I shall inherit, makes me rejoice and sing.
(Hymn 528, st. 2, 15; TLH)