Singer Lynn Anderson had a hit song titled “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.” I think we can agree that as Christians we are surely not living in a rose garden. This worldly garden is filled with thorns and thistles – trials and tribulations. There are a few spiritual roses but many more prickly plants. There is a “rosy” ending but it follows a time of thistles and thorns.
Paul tells us that as children of God we are joint-heirs with Christ. Wonderful! But then he qualifies our heirship with these words, “…if so be we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” Philippians 1:29. The path to heirship with Christ is righteous suffering in the fashion He suffered.
The Bible clearly and repeatedly sets forth that God has ordained for Christians to suffer righteously – to suffer for their faith. Knowing that, we Christians should be willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake because it is God’s ordained path to becoming a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. No worldly inheritance can compare to that.
There is a rosy (promising) end to the suffering path to Christ. Christians will receive incomparable recompense (payment, reward) for their suffering. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18. The eternal glory bestowed upon us will far outweigh any suffering we endure on the righteous path. Glory beyond compare!
Paul told the Corinthian Christians, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. II Corinthans 4:17. Compared to the amount of glory which will be bestowed upon us in heaven the trials and afflictions we endure on the righteous path will seem minimal, insignificant.
Peter had this to say about our sufferings. “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” I Peter 4:13. For experiencing sufferings as Christ did we will burst with joy as never before when Christ is revealed in His glory. No earthly glory can compare to this heavenly glory.
The chorus to the song “When We See Christ” sings, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.” That thought is too great to imagine. No sight in this life can compare to the sighting of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
DEAR GOD, HELP US TO REMEMBER THAT NOTHING THAT HAPPENS IN THIS LIFE, GOOD OR BAD, COMPARES TO WHAT AWAITS US WHEN WE MEET CHRIST.