Summary: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians. 4:17).
A coming glory that outweighs today’s troubles
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians. 4:17).
How do we respond to a crisis? Sudden Death of our dear ones, financials breakdowns, losing job, family problems, accidents, sickness, betray , violence, victims of people and politics, torture by others and so on and so forth can cause depression and distress in life. In time of such crisis we whisper “why O God” “where is God?” Sometimes we are attacked by the enemy in our weakest moments. When we are confronted by intimidating situations and events, our enemy creates more confusion, makes us weaker and helpless and pushes us to hopelessness. How we respond to such a predicament. Too often, we fail to view suffering with an eternal perspective. At some point, we all will face hardships, losses, and painful circumstances. But our heavenly Father always has a purpose for adversity in our lives, and we can profit from it if we respond correctly.
Apostle Paul began 2 Corinthians 4th chapter with a constructive proclamation “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. “(2 Corinthians 4:1-2) ‘Therefore is part of the answer, because it points us back to what Paul has just said. Paul has just explained that his death-like trials made for more effective, life giving ministry for the Corinthian Christians. When Paul considered the greatness of his calling, it gave him the heart to face all his difficulties. We often lose heart because we do not consider how great a calling God has given us in Jesus.
Paul knew his glorious calling to ministry was not due to his own righteous works; it was as we have received mercy. Mercy, by its very nature, is undeserved. Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
Another reason why Paul does not lost heart is, because, though all his suffering takes a toll on the outward man, yet the inward man, is being renewed and blessed! Outward man, has the same idea as the ‘Earthen Vessels’ in 2 Corinthians 4:7 and Mortal Flesh in 2 Corinthians 4:11. The message is the same: “On the outside, we are suffering and taking a beating. But on the inside, God is blessing and renewing us!” When Paul writes “our light affliction,” isn’t writing as a kindergartner in the school of suffering. Paul has an advanced post graduate degree! He describes some of these sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28:
“Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches”
And those are just the physical, outward sufferings! What about the spiritual burdens he bore and spiritual attacks he faced? This rich theology of suffering was forged on the anvil of his own experiences of ‘the sufferings of Christ. Why is our affliction light? Because even the worst of our affliction, when we consider the measure of eternity, is but for a moment, this is partially true in the sense that most of our troubles come and go, and “this too shall pass.” But it is also true in the sense that even a long life by this world’s standard is nothing on the scale of eternity. Even if one were to live for a hundred years and suffer every day of their lives, by the measure of eternity, it is but for a moment. Why is our affliction light? Because of what God is accomplishing in us through our affliction is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
The Scriptures are clear: if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:17). Glory is tied to suffering, and God will accomplish in us a glory far heavier than any affliction we have suffered here. Affliction is not something to be endured in order to reach glory. It is the very process, which creates the glory. Through travail comes birth. Yes, our affliction is light compared to what others are suffering. Our affliction is light compared to what we deserve. Our affliction is light compared to what Jesus suffered for us. Our affliction is light compared to the blessings we enjoy. Our affliction is light as we experience the sustaining power of God’s grace. Our affliction is light when we see the glory that it is leading to. We really can say with Paul, “our light affliction.”