I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18
The New York Times reported this morning, “With the monster quake (in Mexico), four hurricanes (in the Atlantic and Caribbean), flooding across South Asia and a wave of raging wildfires in the western U.S.—not to mention the recent solar eclipse and renewed fears of nuclear war—you could be forgiven for thinking apocalyptic thoughts.” A science fiction writer was also quoted as saying, “These aren’t the End Times, but it…feels like the End Times are getting in a few dress rehearsals right about now.” I am writing this from the safety and security of Minnesota, the middle of the country. Although we have our natural phenomena—tornadoes, ice storms, blizzards—this time, we are being spared. My friends in Tampa, not so much.
If some television reporters have their way, we see only the worst: the scariest rescues, most tragic outcomes, winds that blow the reporters’ hair sideways (why are they out there while telling us not to be out there?). And if the media outlet has producers with compassion in their bones, we might see some news clips of all the people who travel miles in horrible conditions, leaping out of their comfort zones to help those affected by the most recent upheaval.
How can a loving, all-powerful God allow this terrible suffering? Hurricane Irma is taking her sweet time meandering across the island nations in the Atlantic and Caribbean, and her effects will be felt for month, maybe years to come. But in God’s grand scheme of things, there will be a brighter future for those who trust in Him. In Romans 8:18, Paul’s mention of “the sufferings of this present time” is not about the length of time Irma torments the earth. It’s about all history from the time of the Fall of Man. God has given us divine hope through Christ that all of creation will be restored to its original state, or most likely to an even better condition. Yes, we must suffer and we all must die. But God’s promise of eternal life through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus means death is just the beginning.
Saving Father, sustain us through life’s many trials and give us hope for a bright future with You. Amen