For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,2 Corinthians 4:17(NASB)
None of us want to invite pain and suffering into our lives and Paul is an example of a man who went through much suffering in this world for being a Christian. At times he despaired even of life, and yet despite his terrible persecution and many imprisonments, Paul willingly endured his suffering with godly grace, patient endurance and an unspeakable joy. Indeed he considered the sufferings he endured as a light affliction, which would one day produce in him an exceedingly great and eternal weight of glory, in the ages to come.
Paul did not enjoy his suffering at all, but he knew that the pathway of affliction was the same path that the Lord Jesus Christ had to take on our behalf, when He set his face as a flint towards Jerusalem and the cross, and Paul was simply following in the path of his Master. He knew that Jesus suffered and died for our sake so that we could be redeemed from the sentence of death that is over every sinful man.
He knew that as Christ’s disciples we are to follow the same path of humility and humiliation, but he also knew that the sufferings of this time, were by comparison with our eternal future, very small and would soon pass. Paul knew that the afflictions of this age are preparing us for a great glory that has no limits - and it is ours in the eternity of eternities.
There were times when Paul longed to be away from this world, for to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. And yet this was the simple secret that Paul openly shared in many of his writings – that the evils of this life will one day be lifted like a silken shroud, which will quickly pass away like a melting mist, which evaporates into the first golden rays of the early morning sunlight.
However great and burdensome the afflictions of this life may be…the magnificent rewards of the eternal glories that are ours by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, are by comparison very small, very insignificant, fleeting and momentary. It is by bearing the cross for the Lord Jesus through the threads of time that a glorious crown is woven into the master-tapestry of our future, in the eternity of eternities. It is by enduring the sorrows of the night for the sake of Christ, that the bright morning joy will explode into everlasting glory.
Praise Your Holy Name O Lord my God, for the glory without limit that awaits all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. May I face the afflictions and difficulties that are inevitable in this world system with the same eternal perspective, godly grace, patient endurance and unspeakable joy that I see in Paul. Help me not to look at the circumstances of life with dread and fear, but rather may I view them as part of the eternal tapestry of my life that You are woven together for good. I pray that I may look forward with joy to the limitless glories that You have prepared for those that love You, no matter what difficulties and dangers I may be called upon to face, in Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.