THE HOLY SPIRIT SUSTAINS US THROUGH TRIALS AND TRIBULATION

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

Coptic Christian martyrs for Christ

While this life is fraught with many trials and tribulations, the sufferings we experience are to be counted as incomparable with the glories to come. We groan, we wail, we suffer—yet with much hope as we persevere to the end, waiting for the redemption of all creation, and even our bodies. Yet in this, the tension that all mankind faces come to the forefront, and the reason for this is simple: we must wait. This anticipation for glory builds more and more anticipation the longer we must endure this life. This anticipation for glory sustains us and brings forth one major reason why we persevere: we hope in the age to come rather than in this broken and fallen age.

Paul says, that in the same way, this hope for glorification sustains us, the Spirit sustains us, for He knows precisely how to intercede on our behalf before the Father.

Where words and utterances fail us in our prayers, the Spirit transforms them into prayers that match the will of God. The very purpose of the Spirit’s intercession is not so we can feel good about His work in doing so, though we should have much joy in this fact. Rather, the Spirit’s work in transforming our failed prayers likewise culminates in us reaching the finish line, where we are ushered into the presence of our Triune Lord for all eternity. In other words, the Spirit’s work of intercession on our behalf is part and parcel of our endurance; we endure not only for the hope of the age to come but specifically because part of the Spirit’s work is to bring about endurance in us.

Here then is where we find our particular reference that God works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. And what is that purpose? Paul says, the “good” that God is working all things together for, is explicit.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30

Human suffering has a purpose that culminates in glory. To make that ever clearer: the purpose of our trials and sufferings is to bring us to final redemption, where we see God face to face, free from the pain, devastation, and destruction caused by the curse of sin, our adversary Satan, and death itself.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39

God sees to it, from eternity past to eternity future, that those who love God, that is, those who are in Christ, will one day be glorified, first to assist Jesus in His Millennial reign on this earth and then, after the White Throne judgement, to be ushered into a world free from the Fall and its effects. All of our groaning, all of our longing, all of our deferred hope for what is to come, shall be satisfied in the fullness and richness of God’s saving love through Christ.

Adapted from an article by Jason Gilbert “God Works All Things for Good” August 23, 2022, http://www.patheos.com

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