I had the privilege of speaking at The Orchard Fellowship Church yesterday in both of their services. Thank you Pastor Sam Shaw for inviting me. He preached from Romans 8:18-39 and talked about (in my words) how a loving God can allow His people to suffer. In each service I learned something different. I love how the Lord keeps teaching us no matter where we are in our spiritual walk.
When people approach me, they will say one of two things: 1) You don’t know me but…, or, 2) How are you doing? When speaking during the interview time with Pastor Sam yesterday, I shared with him that I had no idea he would be using the passage from Romans. This passage is very near and dear to me. Romans 8:18 says:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
These are the words of Paul. This is a man who suffered while being obedient to the Lord. I cannot even imagine what he experienced during his darkest days, yet he says, “…the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” He is talking about the eternal glory God has for us in heaven. What was it that sustained Paul? Who surrounded him to encourage him?
During my darkest days just after losing Trey, our close friend Ryan Mullins would quote this scripture to me. I cannot tell you how many times it would come up in conversation. Each time Ryan would tell me, “Lisa, Trey would NOT want to come back for anything because of the joy he is experiencing in heaven.” I can only try to imagine having no pain, no sickness, no night and no tears – pure joy. The scripture reminds me of the Mercy Me song I Can Only Imagine and that’s all we can do – is imagine.
The passage goes on to say in verses 24 and 25, “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” What comes to my mind is Christmas morning and how many times Trey and Collin sat at the top of the stairs EAGERLY waiting to come downstairs. The anticipation was so great. But then the years came that they began to sneak and find their presents in closets, cars, and under the bed. The anticipation and hope for what they were going to receive was not as great. In my simple mind, I think if I already know what I am going to see, receive, and do in heaven, why would I eagerly pursue it? That’s God’s plan. He wants us to pursue heaven. He has so many promises for us in his word and I truly believe Trey knew that at the end of his suffering, he would be greatly rewarded for persevering through pain.
I just think he had a glimpse some of us do not yet comprehend. We can be in the depths of despair or on the highest mountain and He will still have a word for us, as long as we have the ears to listen. Trey eagerly listened…and heard…and is seeing.