This past weekend I watched Lifeway’s annual Living Proof Live simulcast taught by Beth Moore. She delivered three messages on the topic of living with audacity – defined as nerve, guts, and “resolute fearlessness” – in a scary world. The whole event was meaningful, but the point that stood out to me most was when she told attendees to have “the audacity to cling tight with all your might to Romans 8:18”.
In Romans 8:18 Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” This particular verse has been replaying in my mind constantly as I’ve finished writing a Romans 8 study. The world is a hard place to live, and there isn’t a single person who is exempt from being wounded by the broken pieces.
Later on in his ministry, Paul echoed to the Corinthians what he had written to the Romans. The same man who endured imprisonments, beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, and incessant danger for the cause of Christ explained that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 11:21-29).
Despite how it sounds at first, these verses don’t minimize suffering. Paul made these bold statements not to downplay the pain of suffering, but to demonstrate the gloriousness of glory. It’s precisely because he endured the most extreme kinds of hardship that he was able to prove his point, namely that no matter how bad things are now, coming redemption will eternally overshadow all our earthly heartache. The exhortation is to avoid being so dismayed by the way things are that we forget to live in light of the way things will be.
The promise of Romans 8:18 is that the painful experiences of this life won’t have the last word. What we endure here won’t hold a candle to what’s coming to us There. In Beth Moore’s words, “You not just going to be alright; you’re going to live happily ever after.” Or as C.S. Lewis put it, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
Although the world seems unstable, suffering feels unbearable, and questions go unanswered, we can live with incredible confidence. We can’t predict the future or wrap our minds around God’s ways, but we can cling wholeheartedly to the truth of Scripture. When we do, our lives are marked by the audacity Beth Moore described as “the guts to live in such a way that gives Him outrageous glory”.
Believing God’s Word empowers us to keep trusting Him when things don’t go our way. It enables us to let Him define our circumstances, not the other way around. And it frees us from expecting our built-in craving for the eternal to be satisfied by the temporal.
Romans 8 describes the firm foundation of those who place their faith in Christ. He is our only hope; all of our security, confidence, and assurance are found in Him. As the old hymn goes, “All other ground is sinking sand.”