18 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.
19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Take a moment to contemplate Paul’s life as he wrote many of the letters in the New Testament.
Paul’s life was one of many trials and various instances of imprisonment. How could such inspiration burst forth from the gloomiest of places? How could Paul possibly find so much joy from prison? There are moments when the only answer you can give to a person’s life is, “Wow! That’s God!” And that was certainly true for Paul. How was this so? Paul understood that joy is not a fleeting feeling or something to be gained through earthly possessions. Joy has no price tag; it is not tangible. It is much bigger than that.
Paul knew that joy was not something that could merely be altered by one’s circumstances. He modeled so clearly for us a deep, pure joy that comes from Christ’s love for us. Paul understood that God is stronger than anything we will face in this life—including death. Although there is suffering in our broken world, we can hope in the final and full freedom that is to come. Remain steadfast! These verses assure us that our present suffering is nothing compared to our future glory.
When people see how you face difficulties, are they inspired? Are they filled with hope? Can they see God clearly at work in and through you because your attitude is pleasing to Him?
• As a believer, how do these verses fill you with hope?
• What steps can you take now to better handle the next trial you will face in a way that honors God?
• Pray specifically for someone that you know who is suffering right now. Ask God to give you a word of encouragement for him or her this week.