Your Morning Coffee 01/23/2023
Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father remind us of His precious promises. Father, right now is not forever. The hard, sharp, cutting edges of life, the pain the grief and the suffering, are not forever. Father your love is forever. The reign of your Son Jesus is forever. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, He who guides and comforts us as we become more like Jesus. May we bear much fruit and not grow weary of doing what is good. May we faithfully endure until our faith becomes sight, and we meet you face to face. In the name of Jesus help us to entrust our whole selves to you. Help us to know your will. Help us to obey you. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Your Morning Song: "God is Near" by Rend Collective
Your Morning Scripture: Romans 8:12-25 (esp. v. 18)
I consider that our present sufferings
are not worth comparing
with the glory that will be revealed in us.
It is good to be back. I've had a few conversations with some of you about these devotionals, and why I had to take a break. In short, everyone in my family got sick, twice. We spent over three weeks going to clinics, hospitals, and the pharmacy. Strep throat, flu, another unnamed illness, it was illness version of stubbing your toe while biting your tongue. And then we got a flat tire on our car. And then our dryer broke down. One thing after another.
And that was just within my own family. There were other issues within the community as well, illness, severe weather, and several sudden deaths, including one of elders. The legacy of love and cheerful giving that Bill Schafer left for us was on full display at his funeral service. I am grateful to have known and been known by him.
In the midst of all this I had several moments that came very close to despair. When my body ached and hurt and my thoughts were foggy with exhaustion, I had to make the conscious choice not to lie down on the floor and give up. I had to make myself eat. I cleaned up vomit. I used and cleaned the kids' medicine cups and syringes. I brought ice packs and food to my wife. Even when I was sick, I could not rest. I was stretched beyond my limits, struggling against hopelessness to function as a husband and father.
It was bad. And though God brought me through it and I am now in a better place, I am ashamed. When I look back at those weeks that have only just passed, I am confronted not with how bad it was, but that because of my choices, I made it harder on myself.
The Holy Spirit, He who lives within us, guiding us and growing us into the likeness of Jesus, was there with me the whole time. But I did not turn to Him at first. My prayers were lost in the despair of diapers, diarrhea, and dirty dishes. My time in God's Word was forgotten amidst fevers, fatigue, and a fussy baby. I felt well and truly alone.
I was wrong. God's ever-present help was literally living within me, and I even though I felt like He was neglecting me, I was wrong. I was neglecting Him. In Romans 8:12-25 it talks about how to live hopefully as broken people in a broken world. It is worth a very careful read. Worth studying and considering far beyond the small space we have here in this devotional. And so I will have that whole conversation here. Instead I will leave you with a spark about verse 18, displayed above, that I hope leads to a fiery hunger to know God as He has taught me to know Him.
When Paul says "present sufferings," he is referring to sufferings of any kind. He is talking not only about moral struggle, but also environmental brokenness and danger. The whole of our life is in view here. And Paul sets this idea up against another, "the glory that will be revealed in us."
And before we go any further, let's just rest on the language Paul uses to establish the comparative relationship between "suffering" and "glory." They are not worth comparing. And for us this is important. I am intimately familiar with my "present sufferings." But this someday "glory?" What is that? It is so much better that it cannot even be compared to how hard our lives can be right now.
And then the word "glory" itself points towards the day when we will be glorified. The power of sin in us is right now defeated, but the presence remains. Someday it won't! Someday we will be free from even the presence of sin. We will not only be witnesses to God's glory in making "all things new" (Rev. 21:3-7), but we will be ourselves works of glory. We will be God's shining, singing, shouting children. And our concrete, perhaps-even-more-real-than-now reality then, will be so wonder-full, so beauty-full, so good, that our present sufferings are not worth comparing.
Is this enough for you? It is for me. Our Father in Heaven loves us. Jesus sits at His right hand, interceding for us out of love for us. The Holy Spirit is alive within us, guiding us, comforting us, and filling us with His fruit as we live in faith beyond our sight until our faith becomes sight, and the work He has begun in us is completed. Glory!
Until then, may my sufferings be small in my eyes as I hope expectantly in a promised future that is beyond my ability now to comprehend.