Lent – Day 9
Shared Glory, Shared Suffering
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:14-17
I remember the moment I realized how tightly my heart and spirit were gripped by fear. On a summer mission trip to Juneau, Alaska, I watched everyone around me take steps of faith despite their fear. One student stepped toward vulnerability, sharing her story with courage. Another stepped toward bold evangelism, inviting locals into community with us and with God. As I observed from a comfortable distance, it struck me that I’d never experience the Lord like my peers were if I stayed on the sidelines.
I took my first real leap of faith into a lake, hand-in-hand with my small group. In total disregard for my fear of water, I jumped; when I climbed back onto the dock, I couldn’t believe I had done it. I finally turned away from fear and stepped out in faith, trusting God completely, and I felt weightless. It was liberating. No longer bound by my fears, I was free to experience the fullness of God’s presence with me as I discovered new courage to do things I had been afraid of for so long. This is exactly what the Spirit’s presence promises: disencumbering assurance, peace beyond measure and freedom from fear.
This same kind of freedom comes with your adoption into the family of God. When you invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit enters your life. At that moment, you become God’s child. Like an orphan adopted by a loving family, you do not do anything to earn your place as God’s child. Your adoption is a permanent gift given through the Holy Spirit.
The Greek word used in this Bible passage for “adoption to sonship” refers to the full legal standing of an adopted heir in Roman society. Through adoption, you gain an inheritance — but what do you inherit? Romans 8 says that you are God’s heir and a co-heir with Christ, meaning you share in Christ’s inheritance. Your adoption into the family of God qualifies you to share in the same victory and joy as Jesus.
While you share Christ’s victory, you’ll also share His suffering. The Holy Spirit frees you from bondage to fear, but He does not eliminate suffering from your life. You will suffer disappointment, defeat, grief, frustration and obstacles far beyond your control. But the good news of your adoption is this: even when trouble comes your way, you don’t have to be afraid. Your seat at the family table is eternally reserved. Your adoption grants you full access to a heavenly Father who sees your grief, knows your heartache and delights in caring for you.
You don’t have to fear disappointment, defeat or grief because you are a child of God. And His love for you — like His love for Jesus — is infinite. Suffering will come, but so will glory, and both are shared. As a co-heir with Christ, a child of God, whatever comes, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll never have to endure suffering alone.
Reflect And Respond
Think of a time when God used your suffering to bring you closer to Him or to accomplish something that you hadn’t expected.
What might help you to remember that you are not alone when you are suffering?
In light of your adoption, what might be keeping you from experiencing the fullness of God’s presence?