“For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” – Romans 8:16-17.
If this is your first time visiting the Northstar Daily Devotional this week, we have been taking a look at and trying to gain a theological basis for pain and suffering. What we’ve been trying to do is simply open up the Scriptures with some key passages and ask, “Lord, what is your purpose in suffering? What are you trying to do? What are you trying to accomplish in this? And what should our response as a Christian be to God in the midst of suffering?”
We want to see our pain and trials, not through a lens of necessarily anger and contempt towards God, but rather to look at them through a lens of joy as an act of faith. We talked about the fact that God is seeking to produce in us something we could not produce on our own. As a result, as we come in these situations where we don’t know what to do, we don’t know where to turn, we don’t know why this is going on, we don’t know how this is going to get any better, and we don’t know what the light is at the end of the tunnel. In the midst of it, we can look to the future and an eternity with the risen Savior.
As we endure the seasons of suffering Christ has ordained in our lives, we can long for the day with hope that Paul described in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”
So do not fear the pain that comes into our lives. God has a purpose for your pain. In Romans 8: 14-16, Paul says we we have been adopted by God as sons and daughters, as children of God. The fact that we’ve been adopted says we are His. Verse 17 goes on to say, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…” An heir is a child whose father says, “Son or daughter, everything I have one day is going to be yours.”
What Paul is saying here is as God’s children we are heirs. Not only heirs, we are coheirs with Christ. But we are not there yet. And until that day there will be pain and suffering.
In Revelation 21:1-2 John in a vision tells us what heaven is going to be like: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”
- Does heaven change your perspective of pain and suffering? If so, how?
- What does it mean to you that we are heirs with God?