I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ----Romans 8:18-28
Did you get all that? (It's okay... you can read it again!! I'll wait...) There's a lot of good stuff in there!! What words or phrases jump out at you? The first sentence and (often misquoted) last sentence of the text seem to resonate with me the most. To realize that our present sufferings, no matter how great, are not even worth comparing with our future glory, assures us that there are better times ahead, perhaps in our lives on this earth, but certainly in eternity. And to know that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," gives us even more assurance that God loves us and is an active participant in our lives, even if God is the only one who knows the good that will come from our circumstances.
At this Sunday's Drive-in Worship service, our closing hymn is Be Still, My Soul. I especially like the hymn text because of the hope it expresses, hope which we so desperately need:
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
Who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
We hope to see you at Drive-in Worship this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. to worship together! (Come at 9:10 a.m. to hear the extended prelude and claim the best parking spaces...) If you are unable to join us in person, we hope you will join us to worship together online!