SSS3: Romans 8:18 DO NOT GIVE UP!

by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD, Esq, MBA, LLM, ME
Founder & Exec. Dir., Break Diving, Inc.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

I read this Bible verse today from an email sent from Steven Furtick Ministries (www.stevenfurtick.com).

In the email, coincidently, is also a quotation that is on my refrigerator: Difficult roads often lead to glorious destinations.

Both have inspired me to write a little something about suffering.

First, the Bible verse.  It talks about the glory that will be revealed in us.  I’m not sure if you have read C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, but I love how he makes clear that the reason we have a sense of right and wrong is not some social construct, but rather, something that is programmed in us, not through evolution or a need to survive, but rather, through intelligent design.  We know what’s right and wrong because God is within us.

To me, that is part of the ‘glory that will be revealed in us’.  God is within us!  We are a part of God.  And remember, we were made in God’s image!  God sent his son Jesus Christ to live amongst us as humans, and to suffer our trials and tribulations.  He died on a cross!  Crucified!  Talk about suffering.  And for us!

And this reminds me of all those who endured the many death and concentration camps around the world throughout history.  Of course, Auschwitz and Dachau immediately come to mind.  But so does the story of Otto Ninow.

Unless you live near North Conway, NH, you probably don’t know the name.  He was just a local older man who ran a music shop in town.  Back in 1995, when I was in high school, he self-published a book about his life.  I bought it one day, but bought it more as a trinket.  I never read it.  Until this summer.  And my gosh, I was blown away by his story.  Of adventure.  Of loss.  Of… suffering, at the hands of the Nazis.

But he kept his spirits up at all times, and made it to the USA, where he lived an amazing second half of life in the White Mountains.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

Somehow, someway, we need to hold on.  No matter what you are going through right now, hold on.  It’s a bumpy ride, I know.  I KNOW.  Even as I write this, my life is a bumpy ride.  Ups and downs.  And sometimes terrible downs.  But I hold on.  Because I know–it happens everytime–that things are going to get better.  They always do.  Life’s roller coaster of emotions and situations do not continually go down.  They always rise back up.  Always.  IF we hold on.

While yes, Romans 8:18 is talking about the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven, I also believe it applies here on earth.  If we allow it, God will reveal himself in us now.  He tries.  All the time.  But we often just don’t listen!

Last night, I was having trouble falling asleep in bed, tossing and turning, and then suddenly, like a lightning bolt, I thought, “I should pray!”  It was an epiphany! All day I had been worrying about some anxieties in my life, and I didn’t think to pray about it.  Oddly enough, I had read and studied C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity again earlier that afternoon.  But the thought of praying just didn’t come to mind… until that epiphany struck me! DUH!

Well, as soon as I started praying, whoooosh, the pressure relieved from my body.  I relaxed almost immediately.  And I felt better.  Throwing my trials and tribulations and… sufferings, on Jesus, who died for our sins.  Why?  I truly believe it’s because I allowed God to take the burden off of me.  I allowed God’s glory to be revealed in me.  I allowed God to help me out.  I acknowledged that I cannot get through this alone, and recognized my humulity.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

If we hold on, we will be seen through it. Sometimes it is said, “It will get better, either in this life or the next.”  To some, this is depressing.  They want things to get better now, in THIS life.

Well, first, they probably will get better in this life.  But if you get depressed when you hear people saying “this life or the next”, I think you are looking at it incorrectly.  It should inspire you!  And make you feel great!  Who the heck cares if we succeed in this world!?  In this broken messed up place!  All that ultimately matters is the afterlife!  It should bring you joy to know that no matter what happens here, all will be well in the end.

I love reading history, and many times, I will read about someone ‘great’ who died a pauper, or died in prison, or was killed unjustly.  I used to feel so sad for these people, but the truth is:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

Why are we judging our success or failure on the way our life ends?  Shouldn’t we judge our success or failure on the way our life was lived?  Shouldn’t we judge our success or failure on the relationship we have with God?  On the good we have done for others along the way?  Or even tried to do?

Who cares if we die penniless?  Who cares if we ‘die alone’?  Who cares if we ‘have no friends’?  Who cares if we ‘are a failure’?  Where is the rubric from which we are making these judgements?  God doesn’t care about any of that. Don’t you see?  In the eyes of God, we are never alone, he is our greatest friend, we are wealthy beyond measure, and we are successful in ways that do not compute here on this earth!

The quotation on my refrigerator says, “Difficult roads often lead to glorious destinations.”  And they do.  In this life and the next.

It’s hard to get through the daily, weekly, and yearly sufferings of this world.  And yes, we all have them.  No matter who you may know who seems to have a ‘charmed’ life, they are struggling internally in ways that you do not recognize.  Do not compare–trust me, everyone has it rough, in some way or another.

And… hold on.  Do not give up.  KEEP GOING!  Those difficult roads are the ones that end up at the most majestic mountain tops.  Those difficult roads are the ones that end up with the strongest of relationships.  The clearest of skies.  The happiest of get-togethers.  The most peaceful of seas.

Why do I hold on and keep going, and keep trying?  Because “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18   I know things are going to get better.  I know something has got to give.

But the key is: you can’t just sit down on the side of the difficult road and hope that someone stronger will come on by and pick you up.  No, you need to find that strength within yourself to get up and push forward despite the pain, despite the agony, despite the time-bomb of self-doubt that is threatening to blow at any minute.

How can you find that strength within yourself?  Pray.  Read the Bible.  Memorize this verse, and keep it close to your heart: “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18  God is always by your side, if you only open your heart to the assistance.

So stop focusing on the here and painful, and instead, focus on the far and peaceful.  If you stay where you are, and give up, you will never find your way out of this treacherous jungle.  If you push on, despite the pain, and look for an easier path that brings you success sooner, you have a strong likelihood of finding it!

Keep your eyes open!  Keep your ears open!  You will find it, one way or another, in this life or the next.  

So stay strong.  Don’t let this life get you down.

Truly, what happens here on this planet is not worth getting worked up about.  At all.

 

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