Josh Wilson presents some great truths regarding present suffering, trials, and pain that believers may and will experience. Much of what his song, “Before the Morning,” says comes from the truths of Romans 8.
Romans 8:16-18 – The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
The point of this passage is that just as believers (“children of God”) inherit salvation through Christ (“heirs with Christ”) and will eventual share in glorification with Christ in heaven (“glorified with Him”), believers share in Christ’s suffering as well (cf. Phil 1:29). But we must remember, as verse 18 states, that the suffering believers share in Christ and with Christ doesn’t compare with the future glory that will be revealed to us (glorification in heaven with Christ), and secondly, isn’t even worth comparing to that glory. Again, it’s not even worth comparing the two.
This is more or less the point Josh Wilson makes in his song, “Before the Morning.” He answers the believer’s question, “If I am a child of God (16-17), if I am His elect (33), why do I have to suffer?” This is the same question being answered in Romans 8. If we are children of God, why must we suffer? And Paul responds in v.28 that indeed, for those who love God, for the believers in other words, all things work towards God’s purpose (29) which is also their good. And that “good,” in the context of this passage, is primarily the believer’s salvation, their glory to be revealed to them (18). Believer’s may and will face difficulties and hardships. And from the context of Romans, chapters 6-8, one of the main difficulties a believer faces is his struggle with his sin nature. But those difficulties should not cause the believer to think that God’s sovereignty is lacking and that His purposes and plans are failing. No, on the contrary, all that is in God’s plan for the believer is good, and the end is glory.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Although I believe that the immediate context of Romans 8:28 is talking about God’s sovereign purposes of saving individuals, and that the “good” spoken of in that verse is then primarily talking about salvation in its entirety, I do think that “good” does not exclude other facets of God’s love for the believer (35-39). The fact that God’s purposes for His children are always good means that although things may appear as if God has forgotten His children or that their life circumstances don’t seem to be good, the believer can rest assured that since God’s purposes for him are good and since he cannot be forgotten by God or separated from His love (38-39), good will come out of everything he goes through, even if he is never able to exactly determine the reasons he went through what he did. And, therefore, the “good” spoken of in verse 28 is not comfort but God’s plan in the believer’s life, namely Christlikeness (29), which often comes through trials (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-4).
Do you wonder why you have to,
Feel the things that hurt you,
If there’s a God who loves you,
Where is He now?
Well, maybe, there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending
Some day, some how, you’ll see, you’ll see
Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
That you still have a reason to sing?
‘Cause the pain you’ve been feeling,
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on, you got to wait for the light
Press on, and just fight the good fight
’cause the pain you’ve been feeling,
it’s just the dark before the morning
My friend, you know how this all ends
And you know where you’re going
You just don’t know how you’ll get there
So say a prayer
And hold on, cause there’s good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time, but you’ll see the bigger picture
Once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
memory, memory, yeah
* Originally posted on former blog, I’m Calling Us Out.