The Upper Lake at America’s Keswick. Photo Credit: John Strain. Used with permission.
No matter how great your pain or how confusing and intense your suffering, live in the mystery of My love. Struggle to trust Me. Do not live with the priority of making your life in this world as good as you can make it. You will suffer, at times unfairly, but you will be given what you need to enter strongly and wisely with supernatural love into every circumstance you face….
~Dr. Larry Crabb
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him Who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this Hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
~paul, The Least of The Apostles, writing in the unfathomable depths of Romans chapter 8
Oh beloved, it is true.
There is a terrible reality about our lives on this plane. For all the real joy that comes from Him setting us free; the absolute knowing that we are Loved, and can now Love Him and others as well, there is something that works to drag us down.
Oh, it is not humiliation, for this sets us towards honor.
It is not persecution, for this only makes us and the Church grow.
It is not even my trespasses and sins. For these horrible spiritual adulteries and treasons against The Kingdom of Heaven has been forgiven – thrown as far as the East is from the West.
It is not even the suffering that we will go through as our old man rots off of the new man we have been made in Christ. Oh yes, we feel the suffering – but somehow know it is fitting.
No, it is something else. Something deep. Sometimes we almost touch it but we can’t get to the place we need to be to understand. Our lives are so flighty and untethered in this world. We are like a buoy needing ballast to keep from floating away from our identity.
In the passage above, The Apostle Paul, a Jew who fully understood his Judaism, and who even better knew the language in which the Old Testament is written, borrows a literary method from his mastery of Hebrew. Paul uses a phrase three times in the Greek text of this section of Romans 8 (Pro-tip: When something is repeated three times in context from the Hebrew, the writer is not being redundant – he is implying a superlative. So, like in Isaiah 6, the Seraphim are not just saying ‘holy, holy, holy’ is some rhythmic triad. No, they are speaking to the utter and complete HOLY that G_d Is. In our American English, to express a superlative we might add “est” to the end of a word like “big”-est or “fast”-est).
The “it?” Glory.
Can we see it?
Paul thrice uses this word on purpose. For in the Hebrew he likely grew up speaking, the word “glory” carried amazing weight in his understanding of Who G_d is. Without taking this out into the weeds of a word study, let me defer to an expert in language: Clive Staples (C.S., or “Jack”) Lewis.
It is written that we shall “stand before” Him, shall appear, shall be inspected.
The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and
only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall
actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God.
To please God…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be loved by God,
not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son
—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of
glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.
Beloved, there awaits us at the end of this journey through this part of life; when we enter into the very Life of The Triune Who knit our souls together in our mother’s womb, a destination and standing that will overwhelm and crush the little trials we will have faced (BTW, another meaning of the Hebrew words for glory is “heavy weight, over-pressure, or even a crushing weight”).
Really friends. Don’t miss this.
Our end is not to scrape our way through some terrible warfare, just have it made a little better by going to a nice place and getting to see our families again, and Jesus anew on some bright and shiny streets. NO! NO! NO!
Oh yes, seeing our families will be fabulous! And to see Jesus even far better! But, have we considered what Jesus has in mind for us? Have we considered what the actual meeting will be like when we are read out on our inheritance in our the very eternal Family of G_d? The Maker of time, and eternity… The One Who spoke existence into existence and spread a universe out with an Artistic and Authoritative Word… The One Who made us in Their very Image… The One Who took on death, and smashed its head so hard that it became Life… The One Who is The Source of all Goodness, Satisfaction, Love, and Blessed Hope…
Yeah, that G_d (and please feel free to kneel in worship in this very moment)…
And, this G_d is not going to just give us some sort of trinkets with which we can amuse ourselves forever. He is going to Speak, and make whatever He Says, to be SO in your life. He is going to give you what you have never even dared to dream. G_d is going to give you Himself – along with all the Love, Authority, Honor, Power, Riches, Strength, and Goodness that His Person implies. This is not going to be a little basket you can carry back to your spot in the place He has prepared for you. NO! It will take an eternity of eternities to even begin to comprehend what we have received. PRAISE HIM that this happens in forever! Nothing else could contain it.
And, may this fool of writer suggest something? If this does not move you at all, you may be missing the Good News of The Gospel. Reach out to this ministry, and let us share some more of Who Jesus Is, and what He has done for us through His perfect Life, Death, and Resurrection!
So, are you feeling the pain of loss and suffering in this life? Good. All of this is meant to crush your hope in this world. All of this is meant to push you below the surface of what we can sense in the material world – and to give us a taste of the Ages in Him to come.
Tonight is your night. Think about the glory. Let is crush you. Let it amaze you. Let it lock your eyes on Jesus.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Think About This: “Christ died to save us, not from suffering, but from ourselves; not from injustice, far less than justice, but from being unjust. He died that we might live—but live as he lives, by dying as he died who died to himself.” -George Macdonald (1824-1905)