All of creation is waiting for the day that you and I become like Christ. It is waiting for the day we become God's holy love revealed to a world that desperately needs that love.
It is waiting for the day on which we finally step into the realm of glory that God has prepared for His sons and daughters—those of us who, like Jesus, have fully yielded our lives to Him.
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us," Paul wrote in Romans 8:18-19 (NIV). "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."
That is a powerful scripture! According to Paul, a time is coming when God will so possess His children that we will manifest His glory to the whole world!
Already we see people who operate in this realm of glory—forerunners whose lives are characterized by the love and power of God. We may, at times, even step into this realm of glory ourselves.
The Role of Suffering
Taking that step, however, is neither easy nor painless. Romans 8:17 reminds us that we are children of God and heirs of Christ—"if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory" (emphasis added).
Suffering is part of the human experience. In life there will always be times of pain, sickness and misery. In a fallen world, they're unavoidable.
But that suffering is nothing compared to the glory God has prepared for us!
I personally know what it means to suffer. During my years as a missionary, I've experienced great suffering.
But when I compare that suffering to the glory God has poured out in my life, which has spilled over to many hundreds of the world's poor, homeless and orphaned, the pain seems like nothing.
We have to share in Christ's sufferings in order to share in His glory. I have experienced both. And the glory has always far eclipsed the suffering.
My husband, Rolland, and I began our ministry in Mozambique in southeastern Africa in 1995. The government offered us a horribly dilapidated orphanage as our base. Before long we had planted a church and taken in 320 orphans, all products of years of brutal civil war.
Ministry was a struggle from the start. We had little support, and the formerly communist officials in the town were openly hostile toward us.
At one point I went into our warehouse and saw that it was empty, except for a little ketchup and some herbal tea. "How am I going to feed 320 hungry children with that?" I thought to myself.
"What should I do?" I cried out to God.
"Get together a couple of people who believe," He said.
Immediately I went and got two or three believers, and we started worshiping in the empty warehouse.
"God, I choose not to look at the ketchup and herbal tea," I prayed. "I choose to look at You. And here are a few people who will look at You with me."
Within three hours, a huge Mack truck pulled up to the warehouse, and a man stepped out of the truck. "This food is for you," he said. "Where do you want it?" Then he and another man proceeded to unload the truck, filling the warehouse with food.
We were ecstatic! We didn't know where the food had come from—except, of course, from the hand of God.
Our happiness was short-lived, however. Thieves came, broke the lock on the warehouse and stole all the food.
But God's glory would not be deterred. Soon another truck arrived and filled the warehouse a second time. I quickly changed the lock!
More Suffering, More Glory
More suffering—and more glory—followed.
The local newspaper ran a story that called my husband and me Marxist spies. A contract was put out on my life, offering $20 to the person who killed me.
Government officials came and told us we could no longer pray, worship or sing to God at the orphanage. Neither could we continue to distribute "unapproved" food, clothing or medical assistance. I was personally banned from the property.
- Next >>