The sufferings of this time, are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed. Romans 8:18
One of my seminary theology teachers often tried to express his compassion for us in the stressful days before exams. He would say: “the sufferings of this time are not worth comparing to the glory yet to be revealed.”
Gerry was not predicting glorious grades when he said this. Instead, filled with the lively and dry humour that was characteristic of him, nudging us to keep the glorious, God-centred, big picture in focus. Whenever Gerry offered this encouragement we would react with laughter. We knew what he was saying to be true, and it was a tragedy that we would forget this life-giving perspective right when we most needed to remember.
Imagine God saying to Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden: see this little, dead-looking chip of wood? It is a seed. And if you plant it in the soil in a sunny spot, and give it some water, it will grow into a great tree like that one over there.’ To Adam and Eve what God was saying would have been quite unbelievable. Surely God was pulling their legs? This dead little bit of wood could never be a mighty green and flowering tree.
Our lives are full of moments that feel deathly. How can anything that delights me come from the impossible situation that I find myself in today?
We need to help each other just as Gerry helped us. In relationship with Jesus we see the bigger picture, and our sufferings are transformed.
All suffering may be transformed sooner than most people think. But first, there must occur certain sufferings that most people simply do not even consider could happen in their lifetime. Remember that the arrival of the groom will be an awful surprise to some of the bridesmaids.
Lovely reflection. One of the many advantages of age is long hind-sight and awareness that Jesus has walked with us through all our little crucifixions and resurrections. He shows us that
everything, however we judge it at the time, is a teacher from a God of unconditional love.
It is all good news.