Imagine that I dump 10,000 plastic eggs in your back yard. I assure you that inside one of those hollow eggs is a check for a million dollars with your name on it.
Would you get discouraged if you opened the first 100 eggs without finding the check? How about the first 1000 eggs? Of course not ! You'd just keep opening those eggs, just waiting for the moment when you'd find the check.
St. Paul knew the meaning of the word "suffering." He had been beaten, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, starved, and rejected. And yet Paul said that his sufferings were nothing compared to the glory that would come. In other words, Paul had opened a lot of empty eggs, but he never gave up or got discouraged. He believed that something great was in his future God's glory revealed in him.
Perhaps it feels to you as if your life has been nothing but empty eggs. You've already opened 99000 of them and you're not sure you've got the will to go on. Let me encourage you today. Don't give up. I don't want to trivialize the challenges you are facing, but I do want to help you put them into perspective. They are only temporary, and God has something much greater in store for you. Compared to the glory that will be revealed in us one day, our suffering doesn't merit discouragement.
Hang on. Don't give up. Keep going. One day God will replace your discouragement with incomparable glory!
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
The rainbows of life follow the storms.
Tertullian, 140-230 AD, encouraged a group of local Christians who were languishing in a Roman dungeon with these words:
"Blessed ones, count whatever is hard in this lot of yours as a discipline of your powers of mind and body. You are about to pass through a noble struggle, in which the living God is your manager and the Holy Spirit is your trainer. The prize is an eternal crown of angelic essence-citizenship in the heavens, glory everlasting."
He also told them, "The prison does the same service for the Christian that the desert did for the prophet. Our Lord himself spent much time in seclusion so he would have greater freedom to pray and so he would be away from the world.... The leg does not feel the chains when the mind is in heaven."
Some natures will endure an immense amount of misery before they feel compelled to look there for help whence all help and healing come. They cannot believe that there is verily an unseen, mysterious power, till the world and all that is in it has vanished in the smoke of despair; till cause and effect are nothing to the intellect, and possible glories have faded from the imagination. Then, deprived of all that made life pleasant or hopeful, the immortal essence, lonely and wretched and unable to cease, looks up with its now unfettered and wakened instinct to the source of its own life -- to the possible God who, notwithstanding all the improbabilities of His existence, may yet perhaps be, and may yet perhaps hear His wretched creature that calls. In this loneliness of despair, life must find The Life: for joy is gone, and life is all that is left; it is compelled to seek its source, its root, its eternal life. This alone remains a possible thing. Strange condition of despair into which the Spirit of God drives a man -- a condition in which the Best alone is the Possible!