“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
God has chosen to govern the world in such a way that the end state of things is far better than their beginning. Between the two states, however, there exists a dark valley, a veil of tears that cannot be avoided. The Bible is replete with microcosmic examples, which were “written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Joseph is a stellar example. Sold into slavery in Egypt, then wrongly accused and sentenced to a dungeon, Joseph experienced 13 long years of incarceration, which included periods of devastating disappointment (Genesis 37, 39-40). At long last, in the LORD’s providential care, Joseph was not only granted his freedom, but great honor, privileges and responsibilities (Genesis 41-50). His descendants, national-ethnic Israel, have a similar history. The nation was birthed in bitter bondage, and was even slated for destruction (Exodus 1). When God’s chosen deliverer, Moses, began his liberation movement under God, things actually got worse for his people (Exodus 6:1-13). In time, however, God showed His awesome power through a series of supernatural sign miracles and judgments, and He effectively broke the back of Egyptian domination (Deuteronomy 26:8). His people found freedom; their end state was far better that their beginning. There is no greater Old Testament example than Job. Originally blessed with health, wealth, family and fame, Job suddenly lost it all and was confined to a period of abysmal misery. When that terrible period had come to an end, God blessed Job with twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10). Of course the greatest example of all time and eternity is the Lord Jesus Himself, who, in the fullness of time, emptied Himself of all independent exercise of His attributes of greatness, and took upon Himself a human nature. As a man He faced the worst the world could throw at a person, even to the humiliating death upon a Roman cross. For His obedience God raised Him to glory, now with the name above every name (Philippians 2:5-11). He now resides in the Third heaven as the Blessed Creator, Redeemer, and Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:1-3); the entire created order is under His authority (Matthew 28:18). Our Lord’s earthly ministry, with its period of darkness and pain followed by glorification and blessing sets the example we must follow. The dark valley that we are going through, or awaits us in the future, cannot be avoided. That valley, however, is by no means the end of our journey. By God’s grace and irresistible power, our journey will continue all the way to the shore of a blessed new heavens and earth, where our present trials will be eclipsed by joy, and will eventually fade into forgotten memories (Isaiah 65:17).
May God use this meditation to bless and encourage you today, dear saints,