Several years ago, we undertook a tremendous challenge. We decided that by the end of one summer, we would be in shape enough to climb the volcano that my then In-Laws lived on. Hualalai is no easy feat. (see picture above) For one thing, we never did find a trail, so we basically just climbed straight up. For another thing, it is covered with cinder stone, which is very slippery, and plenty of places where you can fall through the lava and get hurt. I fell through a small hole, cutting my leg on the sharp lava rock. It was an arduous climb.
But oh, when we reached the summit–I can’t even describe for you the amazing views we had all around us. We could see the summits of the other volcanos, we could see down to the ocean all around us, we could see far out to the horizon and a little bit of the curvature of the earth. It was breath taking. (I won’t tell you about how we got terribly lost descending and had to be rescued 🙂 )
I’ve written two previous posts (right below this one) on belief, and I’d like to finish up this series with this post today.
Our pastor is urging us to memorize Romans 8 this year. I’ve been meaning to do this anyway, because it is such a pivotal and important chapter. Doing it together with the church will help spur me on to get this finished.
Paul, in Romans 8:18 says this:
Another word that can be used in place of “consider” is “reckon”. He is essentially telling us that we need to think. And think much. With our mind. And when we do that, we can discover peace.
“But peace comes from comfort” you might say. And, yes, there is peace in comfort. But not lasting peace. Paul knew this. He knew that it was important that we think with our mind–that we reason out what is truth. And Paul is saying in this verse, we need to reason out with our mind that the sufferings we experience here on earth “are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Let me try to explain just a bit more.
Timothy Keller, in his book “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering” writes this:
Peace comes from a disciplined thinking out of the implications of what you believe.
It is this: a vantage point. On top of that volcano, I could look back over where we had climbed. I could trace our path around cinder cones down to the tree line. On top of that volcano, I had a vantage point. That’s what we need to ask God for, is a vantage point from which we can see more clearly, see farther than what is happening right around us and to us, and think about and reason out what we believe to be truth. And when we realize that the truth of our belief culminates in the glory that we can’t even begin to understand but that will be revealed to us, we can start to see our sufferings on this earth as being temporary. Impermanent. Hurtful? Yes, very painful. But still, temporary, for some day–for those who believe in Christ and His death and resurrection–we will see Him and His glory like He is. We will be Home.
I know this is a deep concept. I know it is a hard concept. It’s a very hard concept for me. I don’t always reason it out. I get caught up in the pain, the self-centeredness, the fear, the lack of peace and I miss out on the joy of the glory that is to come. But when I am disciplined in my thinking about what I believe, I find a peace that no amount of comfort could ever provide. I find a peace that is solid and that I can stand fast on.
I find God’s steadfast love to be that peace.