“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
Sequestered in the pediatric cardiac ICU of Boston Children’s, Miami Children’s or Shands Hospital for what seemed like an interminable period, we were consistently amazed at the remarkable and profound expertise of the medical personnel attending our son James. The brilliant surgeons, physicians, and nurses were superheroes who ensured their patients had the best possible care and categorically earned our complete respect.
It crossed our minds that their parents and professors had played a huge part in their success and undoubtedly deserved some of the accolades. But it was obvious that these men and women had sacrificed endless hours, had endured incalculable sacrifices, and had spent invaluable money, energy, and resources to overcome the myriad of obstacles poised against them in their formidable years of training. Families like ours were the grateful recipients of their dedication and sacrifice.
Their example jumps to mind when I consider that God asks us to also endure rigorous lessons in life. Time and again, the apostle Paul reinforces the truth that the “heavy weight” of our struggles is not worth being compared to what God is producing through them. Through the arduous courses designed to refine and transform us, God is equipping us to serve him in glorious ways that defy our present understanding. From God’s perspective, the sacrifices he asks us to endure, the hardships and the difficulties we face, will all count for something enormous. For now, though, we might not even understand.
Our gracious God reminds us that he will use the strenuous course work and the challenging trials to bring about a great good that we cannot even conceive as possible. Bent over their manuals, the medical students could not imagine the many precious children they would one day help to save or the perplexed parents they would infuse with hope. Bent beneath the weight of our own loads, we are also unable to see how God is fashioning us into instruments of healing and hope for others who are unmistakably precious in his sight.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Elizabeth A. Mitchell