Lent – Day 20 – Reflections Through Romans

“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….” (Romans 8:18)

RomansFor thousands of years, people have taken the basic view that “good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people.” If the gods are pleased with us, they show favor toward us. If they feel slighted, they curse us.

Hinduism and Buddhism call it karma — good deeds beget blessing; evil begets evil. The Jews in biblical times assumed much the same. Hence, Job’s wife (in light of all of Job’s suffering) urged him to “curse God and die.” (Job 2:9) What else could Job lose? He had apparently already (somehow) come under the curse of God.

Christian theology differs dramatically.

No doubt, the Apostle Paul’s opponents pointed to his own sufferings as evidence that he was not in the will of God. Consequently, in 2 Corinthians  11:25-28 he catalogs an array of hardships and suffering he has endured. His list includes beatings, being stoned almost to death, multiple shipwrecks, hunger, thirst, and danger. Just the kind of list that would lead most people to conclude that Paul had fallen out of favor with God. We might be tempted to think the same. Correct?

We hold a basic (myopic) sense of fairness to which we assume even the cosmos should be subject.

However, Paul challenges our view of suffering. It comes to us — to all of us — for many reasons; our own sin, the fallenness of those around us, the brokenness of the physical world in which we live, or even spiritual attack (as in Job’s experience).

Paul seems unconcerned with explaining suffering. Rather, he reflects on it within a much larger context; the context of redemption. He had written earlier to the Corinthians, perhaps just months before this letter to the Romans:

We do not lose heart. Though the outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Then Paul reiterates this for the Romans, and for us.

Whatever you are facing today, whatever struggles or suffering afflict you right now, whatever hardships you face in this moment may have no explanation. But they will fade in comparison to the glory that awaits you for eternity, as you fix your eyes on Jesus.

What glorious hope to hold onto!

 

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10 Responses to Lent – Day 20 – Reflections Through Romans

  1. Scott Sutherland says:

    Great thoughts, David. Blessings and thanks for writing and sharing what the Lord lays on your heart.

    >

  2. Marc S. Walters says:

    David~Thank you for your insight into God’s Word…keep ’em coming!!

  3. Jan Neff says:

    This is what I had to come to – in light of eternity, this is all a blip on the screen (yet Jesus died for our blip!). I teach a series of classes at a center where young girls/ladies can go to live for 2 years while they get their feet under them and learn a holistic view and approach to life. It’s all Christian centered. Most, if not all, of these girls are from a similar situation to mine, having grown up in all forms of abuse. When we get to the question of why, I tell them they probably won’t like my answer but if they can get to it, it’s the best one: it doesn’t really make any difference. When we stand, kneel, fall before the King of Kings, joining with the saints and angels giving glory to the Lord of all, any experiences on earth will fade into the background and become irrelevant. Of course there’s a much larger discussion around this, but that’s the basics.

    • David Timms says:

      Sounds like a great ministry opportunity, Jan. How helpful it is to gain a greater perspective than the circumstances of the moment. Blessings as you continue to serve these young women.

  4. Jan Neff says:

    Oops – Forgot to put in there it’s a center for those who are pregnant and need a safe place.

  5. Judi says:

    These thoughts are my prayer for Kevin and Julia, Canadians who are prisoners in China. They lived there over 30 years helping street kids/ orphans, even adopting two of them. Now they’re political pawns with little (worldly) hope. I pray daily God’s comforting words such as these verses you used will flood their hearts with His peace, joy and strength.

    • David Timms says:

      That’s a powerful prayer, Judi. Thanks for sharing about this faithful couple. May the Lord continue to sustain and strengthen Kevin and Julia, granting them a vision beyond their circumstances.

  6. Heide says:

    Wow!!! Thank you David… This post is filled with so much for me to muse…
    🙏

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