As a general rule, human beings avoid suffering. We do all we can to sidestep pain. Yet, no matter how hard we try, difficulty arises, tragedy strikes, and suffering stubbornly persists as a consistent theme in life.

The Bible says that our suffering is “worth it.” That, in the end, the pain of suffering will be overmatched by the joy of glory. Not only that, Scripture makes the audacious claim that our suffering actually enhances our glory. That it helps us grow in knowledge and intimacy. It tells us that we should rejoice in our suffering!

We often think about this verse in Romans as comparing apples to apples. What we get from glory is better than what we lose from suffering. The measure is what we get: how it hurts versus how we are rewarded.

But if we look carefully, we see this verse does not say that glory is better than suffering. It says they are “not worth comparing”. The reason for this is because they are not opposing forces. It is not that one causes so much good for us that the bad the other causes is outweighed. Effectively, Paul is saying: “you have the wrong perspective about all of it”. It ALL works together for God’s glory. It is all good. All of it is helpful. The parts that hurt and the parts that heal. The celebration and the mourning. The suffering is not separate from the glory that will be revealed to us. It is a part of it. You cannot compare two things wherein one is part and the other the whole. 

Glory is not the winning team and suffering the losing team. In the end, glory swallows suffering so that it is not annihilated but redeemed.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.”
– Romans 8: 18-19