I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18 NIV).
Friend to Friend
My husband woke one morning with a nostalgic urge to revisit the small North Carolina town where he spent the first eight years of his childhood. At family gatherings, he and his twin brother recounted endless stories of playing kick-the-can and baseball in their front yard, which was “at least the size of a football field.”
They recalled long hardwood hallways where they slid sock-footed, that were “at least as long as a bowling alley.” And they itched talking about rolling down grassy hills in the front yard that spilled onto the sidewalk.
So, the little boy in Steve decided to take a trip to his boyhood home and revisit the days of his youth. With map in hand, he drove the three hours, and pulled up to the address on his scratch piece of paper.
He blinked. Checked the address. And sat slack jawed.
The yard he remembered to be “the size of a football field,” was in reality the size of a baseball infield with the small bungalow sitting on the pitcher’s mound.
His hallways “as long as a bowling alley” couldn’t have been any longer than the two boys lying head-to-head. And the “rolling hills” were no more than two humps in the front yard.
Steve spent the day driving from one landmark to another, and each time reality clashed with memory. “Everything is so small,” he said time and time again.
I think back to the problems I’ve had in my life over the past half century plus. At the time, so many of them seemed so big. Football field wide, mountain-high, bowling alley-long. However, looking back, many of those mountainous struggles were really just bumps in the road. I think those problems will seem even smaller when I cross over to the other side.
Paul said this about his own life: “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” (Romans 8:18 KJV). I hear my country grandmother in those words, “I reckon.”
I always thought of “reckon” to mean, “I guess so.” But the word “reckon” in the New Testament Greek, logizomai, actually means to count, reason, decide, conclude. It’s to properly compute or come to a logical conclusion. That’s a lot more than grandma’s “I reckon.”
Paul added up all the evidence and came to the logical conclusion: the struggles we’re going through now are small beans compared to what we’ll be enjoying in heaven.
Listen, I know this world can have hardships that seem to suck the life right out of us. I don’t want us to ever think that Paul was glossing over the enormous physical and emotional pain that comes with living on this side of heaven. He wasn’t minimalizing his. He wasn’t minimalizing ours.
One look at 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 shows us that he had been through more than you or I will probably ever experience. He was shipwrecked, snake bitten, man-beaten multiple times, imprisoned, robbed, and left naked on the side of the road. And yet, he says that all his and our suffering will be small compared to the glories that are yet to come for those who know Jesus as Lord.
Maybe you’re thinking, that all sounds well and good, but it doesn’t really help me get through my struggles right now. I get it. Maybe it’s because we don’t think about heaven enough. Let’s think about this place where we’ll live a lot longer than we will live here. No pain. No crying. No suffering. No questions. Beauty everywhere you look. Praise in every sound you hear.
So, what do we do in the here and now when what seems so big will one day seem very small? We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Paul wrote, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV).
Steve didn’t regret his visit to his boyhood home, but it did make him chuckle at the enormity of the memories. I think we might chuckle a time or two when we leave our earthly home and compare our past struggles with our eternal celebration.
Jesus, I can’t wait to be in heaven and spend eternity with You. Until then, help me to keep my worldly struggles in perspective. This life is short. Eternity is long.
In Your Name I pray, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What is one problem you had in the past that seemed so big, that now seems rather small?
Go back and read 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 and consider Paul’s hardships.
More from the Girlfriends
Your struggles…your stories…are one of the most amazing tools you have to glorify God. What was difficult for you can become divine help for someone else. Not sure you believe me? Check out my book, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. It truly can!
© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Sharon, thanks for this devotion.
The refer. in 2 Corin. has always been a highlight moment in the Bible for me.
All the trauma Paul lived through is summed up in that passage, and reminds me I don’t have it so bad!
Paul, in this human life, was a target for those who hated the new Christian church…but, look at the strength he had through the Spirit. I’ve been looking back over my own life and realize that God has been here, through my teen years
(thankfully) up to now, with out fail. I just have to be as dependable to Him, and realize He is my Savior and my Friend in good times and bad.
Thank you again, for this am blessing.
We love doing life with you!
Thank you 😊 Sharon. This is so inspiring and beautiful. It’s 3am & my 4 year old great grandson who I’m adopting just woke up in a wet bed.
This is a perfect message to read as I wash the sheets.
Life has been complicated and rough at times but God has brought me through it with his love for me.
I’m glad I have GIG to understand my path in life 😌🙏
God bless everyone and now I don’t feel so bad ❤
Praise God for godly grandmothers! One day, you will know just what a big impact you are making.
I have been reading GIG devos for a few years now and they are always so spot on! So spot on that today we are celebrating the life of a friend who passed away and to be reminded of all the glory she is experiencing in heaven is heart warming, it takes the sting away of remembering that I can’t pick up the phone and call her.
I just love you ladies, letting God speak through your every day life situations to connect to so many women. May God continue to use you all to spread His love to many!
We love you too!
Thank you for putting all into perspective!! Your analolgy is simple and one we can all relate to…those sweet childhood memories.
You and Steve be blessed, Sharon.
Thank you sweet friend.
Thank you for the perspective change. The devotional is a good reminder of the brevity of life on earth in comparison to the riches of eternal life with the Father.
Here is very short!
My husband of 57 years has been ill off and on for 11 years.. He enjoyed doing yard work so much before that and to see him go down to being bed ridden knowing he was depressed because he was not his old self was hard. I know he wasn’t happy being treated like a small child being cared for. So he passed recently and at first I felt at a great loss until I thought about how he surely had to be with our Lord and be able to get around with no problem, seeing the Father, and uniting with family and it put me at ease as it hurt to lose him. Reading the messages you write are comforting as many times they fit the day I read them, it’s like you spy on me and send what I need to read.Our Father is a wonderful Father and it pains me that many are not as loyal to Him as they should be. I pray people learn and return to Christ.
Yes, me too.