Sometimes I try planning what to write next in this blog, but inevitably God informs me otherwise! After this past Sunday’s second reading, I knew that God wanted me to write something different than I had planned to post, so I just laughed and started writing.
A verse in the second reading gave me chills. I’ve heard it many times but really need to think on it more often than I do: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” (Romans 8:18) Honestly, this is the best news I’ve heard in a long time! Everything bad that’s happening both in our world right now and in people’s personal lives is nothing compared to the glory to be revealed to us. That surely sounds good to me!
The pain I’m living in is intense, and I’m having to undergo more difficult treatments right now. I want to be able to live a pain-free, normal, independent life, but I’m not close to that yet because of mistakes that were made in my case. My heart is aching for what would have been if all of this had not happened. You don’t expect to get sick, especially not long-term like this. I struggle with grief and a lack of fulfillment in the midst of so much suffering. With all of this going on, you can imagine how golden those words from Romans were to me on Sunday. The thought that this level of misery is nothing compared to the glory that’s to come is such a relief!
This is a source of hope for many other people and situations, too. Anyone carrying burdens- health issues, financial problems, family or relationship difficulties, grief, and even the uncertainty due to COVID-19- can find comfort in those words. I know here in Louisiana, the fact that some restrictions due to COVID-19 are tightening again has a lot of people just feeling blah and yearning for more certainty and normalcy. The awesome fact is that no matter what unfun things we are going through in the here and now, they are small potatoes in the scheme of the greatness that is to come in eternal life. We can’t even imagine the glory of God.
The timing of this second reading is interesting for me because of things that I have been discussing with my spiritual director lately. Sometimes I feel like for the amount of pain and heartache I’m going through (most of which I try to keep to myself), there’s nothing that could ever happen in my life to make up for this. I’ve questioned why God even sent me to Earth if this is how it was going to go for me. But my very wise spiritual director has reminded me that we are created not just for our earthly lives, but for eternity- a much bigger picture. We were created to spend eternity with our Lord, and that’s what He wants for each of us.
I have to say, viewing it that way makes a huge difference. I realize that when I just look at the here and now, it’s easy to feel defeated, discouraged, or down. But when I look at this current sorrow as a drop in the bucket compared to the awesomeness that is to come in heaven, then I see value and hope. When I’m solely looking at my earthly life, I’m being pretty shortsighted and missing the bigger reason for my creation. I was created to spend eternity with God. Since earthly life is really nothing compared to that, I am reminding myself to shift my focus to eternity and getting to heaven, because I certainly don’t want to miss out on the revelation of something so incredible that I can’t even fathom it.
In the midst of the grief, I’m trying to focus on growing in character and in relationship with God. I’m working to shift my focus to the bigger picture- the next life. I’m working to be a better version of myself, the woman I was created to be. I still have hope and desire for this earthly life to be different and better for me of course, and hopefully that will happen, but I know that the here and now is not the end of the story.
Especially in the midst of COVID-19 and all the changes and uncertainty surrounding this pandemic that we didn’t see coming, I find this verse in Romans to be particularly encouraging and hopeful. Our world feels funny and turned upside down right now, but that is nothing compared to what’s to come- the glory of God meant to be experienced for eternity. And that is the best news I’ve heard in a long time!