2 Corinthians 4:17 (ESV) … “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…”
Present-day society is constantly changing. Change is expected, and people spend their lives trying to keep ahead of the changes in their workplace. This passage highlights what is permanent, something on which believers can plant their feet and know that it is solid. It will always be there, no matter what changes. It is the gospel message that is preparing all believers for eternity with their loving Creator.
Paul knew that nothing in this life lasts forever. Paul knew that the hardship he endured was a slight momentary affliction in comparison to how long he would enjoy God’s presence. He concluded, therefore, that the troubles of this world are an extremely light burden compared to the eternal weight of glory. Millions, billions, and trillions of years do not even compare to the length of infinite time.
What really matters—what is eternal and permanent—cannot be seen, touched, or measured. Only with the eyes of faith can people look … at what cannot be seen. Only with eyes of faith can they begin to understand, with God’s help, the eternal significance of their actions. A believer’s hope is not in this world. A Christian’s hope is not in the power and wealth that can be accumulated on earth. Instead, a Christian’s hope is in Christ—someone who cannot be seen at the present moment (Romans 8:24; Hebrews 11:1).
Nevertheless, Jesus Christ and his significance to every person’s life is real enough. That is why Paul encouraged the Corinthians to live by faith and not by sight (5:7). The Corinthians were to take their eyes off of this world—for what can be seen is temporary—and place them on the Almighty, the One who possessed all power. They were to invest in what was permanent and eternal and would withstand the unpredictable changes of life, in heavenly treasures that would never deteriorate (see Luke 12:33).
THE OPPORTUNITIES IN TRIALS
Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits:
• They remind us of Christ’s suffering for us.
• They keep us from pride.
• They cause us to look beyond this brief life.
• They prove our faith to others.
• They give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power.
• They bring an eternal reward.
See your troubles as opportunities! Our ultimate hope when we are experiencing terrible illness, persecution, or pain is the realization that this life is not all there is—there is life after death! Knowing that we will live forever with God in a place without sin and suffering can help us live above the pain we face in this life.