“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at things which are seen but at things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
In this chapter Paul is talking about the suffering he has endured in spreading the gospel. He has faced many hardships, even death. But for Paul, the perspective of suffering was:
• In the scope of eternity and the plan of God, our suffering is a light and momentary thing. Although it seems horrible while we are going through it, when seen through the eyes of God and endured with the grace of God it becomes a light, not a heavy burden.
• Our suffering is working for us. So many times our hardships can seem like they are our master, controlling our lives. But they are our servants, meant to work for us. And as believers in Christ, the work they are to do for us is to transform us into His image, a work we cannot do ourselves.
• The work that our suffering accomplishes produces eternal results than far exceed the difficulty of the suffering.
The condition: we must stay focused on the eternal. Life and suffering are temporary things, but the glory of Christ in us is our hope and it is eternal. When we learn to see our afflictions through the eyes of God, even in the midst of them we are renewed day by day.
If you are suffering today, do not lose heart. Rather, let us rejoice that God is doing a beautiful work in us through our difficulties.