“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” — Romans 8:18
I can’t say I suffer much. Oh, I may have a rough day at work, things may go wrong at home, someone might make a condescending comment about my faith in conversation. But is that suffering? Working at VOM, reading the stories of Christian persecution, and interacting with our brothers and sisters overseas has given me a different perspective on true suffering.
I may experience a death in my family, I may deal with serious sickness, and I may go through financial hardship, but these are nothing when I hear what others are suffering right now for their faith: a sister in Pakistan abused by her employer, a brother in Egypt strung up by his ankles and tortured with an electric baton, a couple in Iran whipped with steel cables. That is true suffering.
The apostle Paul went through many of these sufferings —shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonment — and yet in Romans 8:18 he writes, “…our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed…” Think about that. If Paul says that the hardest things we experience on earth are not even worth comparing to future glory of God’s fully-established kingdom, how great is that glory going to be?
Obviously, it’s incomprehensible to us now, but what a promise to look forward to: an incomparable glory. And a brother suffering in prison has the same glorious future, too. A Christian woman suffering family rejection and pressure has hope in her glorious future in God’s eternal presence.
This changes my prayers for the persecuted: yes, I’ll still pray for their release from suffering, for their testimony to remain strong while suffering, and for their spiritual growth during suffering; but now I will also pray they remember how their current suffering pales when compared to our future glory together with Christ.