“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
WHEN WE’RE DISCOURAGED AND WE’RE THINKING ABOUT TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT, IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THE VALUE OF THE THINGS WE’RE REACHING FOR. Life with God is a treasure worth any price that ever has to be paid to receive it — and more important, the privilege of simply being a person through whom God can glorify Himself ought to mean more to us than anything else in the here or the hereafter. Whatever we’re giving up, what we’re getting is what we want to get most of all, isn’t it?
When the price seems too painful to bear and we wish we could get back what we’ve given up, we need to recall how we evaluated things when we originally “counted the cost.” Like the Olympic athlete who never forgets his original decision (that the rewards of discipline and training are worth more than those of ease and indulgence, and that he wants the former more than he wants the latter), we must remember that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” When the life of discipleship turns out to be hard, the wise Christian will say, “Yes, but I’d still rather have the ‘minuses’ I have right now than the ‘minuses’ that would go with any other set of ‘pluses’. The tradeoff is well worth it.”
We should not let Satan deceive us as to the true value of things. When we barter with him, he has a way of making the things outside of God’s will seem more valuable than they really are, and he carefully conceals the deadly downside of disobedience. He is, after all, the ultimate “con artist.” Yet we are not helpless in our struggle against him. Faith — real trust in God’s goodness — is the quality that can keep us in touch with reality. No matter what life looks like in the short term, and no matter what sacrifices are asked of us, we have good reason to believe that God is telling us the truth: what’s ahead is worth reaching for. If we forget that, we’re in danger of being seriously misled.
“We master fear through faith — faith in the worthwhileness of life and the trustworthiness of God; faith in the meaning of our pain and our striving, and confidence that God will not cast us aside but will use each one of us as a piece of priceless mosaic in the design of his universe” (Joshua Loth Liebman).