For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:18-22 ESV)

 …if indeed we suffer with Him

There is a Greek construction here that you cannot see in the English language. A common conjunction in Greek takes the prefix sun and combines it with other words. Sun means “with.” They are sungkleeronomos, sunpascho, sundoxastho. These are the three “withs” of Romans 8:17.

  • We are heirs with Christ
  • We suffer with Christ
  • We will be glorified with Christ.

Suffering was the way of life for Jesus.   Jesus had been brutally murdered on the cross. Three days had passed and he had come forth from the tomb. He wass walking on the Emmaus road, having a conversation with some guys who have no idea who He is. They were followers of Jesus but they didn’t recognize him. And they were distraught that Jesus had to suffer. In Luke 24:26, we have Jesus’s response to their question. And notice that Jesus’s response is a question: “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter His glory?”

The groan always comes before the glory. Suffering is a real part of our human existence.

Suffering takes many forms.

The man and woman who struggle to get along with each other. They don’t love each other like they used to. Their respect for one another is failing. The suffering: knowing how they should relate to one another—and the reality of how they do relate to each other.

The woman dominated by depression. She knows there’s more to life than she sees. Yet she wonders how she’s going to make it through another day. The groan is the desire to live life to the fullest. The suffering is wondering how to get there.

The pain of death—especially during the holidays. A sister. Your mom. A dad.  A son. A brother. Death hurts so badly. You feel alone, abandoned, cheated. This is real suffering. Tears flow down your cheeks in the middle of the night when no one else notices.

Don’t miss the 3 “withs.” You are an heir with Christ. You now suffer with Christ. You will be glorified with Him. One day the you God really intended will become clear. Free from sin and suffering, you will be resplendent in all of the glory God created you to exude. Until then, we groan…and anticipate.