PREPARATION: lighting the candle and readying myself to listen.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.
When you were a child, did you ever peek? What I mean is, did you ever peek at your Christmas gift hidden under the bed or stashed high at the back of a closet? If you ever did, or were tempted to, then you can identify with the apostle Paul in today’s scripture in which he peeks at what God has coming for His children. Paul can hardly wait! In the throes of suffering (2 Corinthians 6:4-5; 11:23-28), he eagerly looks ahead to God’s gift, not just for His children, but for all of God’s creation. Paul is on fire as he says “that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.”
The Greek word translated “revealed” is apokalupsis, meaning the removal of a covering as when a work of art has a veil thrown over it; then, at the right moment, the work of art is revealed as the veil is removed. Paul eagerly looks ahead to Christ’s Second Advent when Christ is “revealed” (apokalupsis), and God’s children are “revealed” (apokalupsis) together with Him. Here are new depths of the meaning of Immanuel, God is with us. “That revelation brings with it of necessity the manifestation of the sons [children] of God for what they are — the making visible in the life of what God sees them to be.” (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture)
As believers, we have been made “joint heirs with Christ,” so that “we may be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17). At the consummation of time, the fulfillment of all history, we will be revealed with Christ in glory. The wondrous surprise when God’s family is finally gathered is beyond our comprehension. But what fun to peek! It is then, that the glory that is ours as God’s children is revealed, not just to us, but to all of creation.
Thus, Paul says that “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” Even the creation, the entire world of nature, will rejoice with us when we are revealed with Christ in glory. Isaac Watt celebrates this revealing moment in his grand hymn, “Joy to the World!”:
“Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns,
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy.”
This joyous hymn echoes creation’s joy foretold by the psalmist:
“Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming.”
Paul gives a peek of the moment God transfigures the creation into “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). As God entrusted the care of creation to His image-bearers, i.e., human beings, so “creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.”
As Paul looks ahead into our glorious future, he can only conclude: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” Paul uses the careful, measured Greek language of a mathematician or logician (logizomai) who has done his calculations. He can excitedly say that our suffering with Christ can in no way compare with the glory awaiting us. “For if such sufferings are set against the coming glory, they sink into insignificance.” (Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, David Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible) Our suffering now is but for a moment, but the glory is eternal, ever growing and expanding, forever and ever. “These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us” (2 Corinthians 4:17, The Message).
How wonderful for the apostle to give us this peek at Christ’s coming; but we will still be surprised at the glory and the wonder of Immanuel, God is with us! And, we will be with Him in glory!
CONVERSATION: I talk with God about the thoughts and feelings stirring within.
REST: I take time to be present to Immanuel who is present to me.