“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Those who positively and faithfully cope with life’s difficulties have learned to see life through the lens of Jesus and the eternal. Yes, life can be full of “trouble” (Job 14:1) and “tribulation” (John 16:33), but God’s children can go through the tough times of life with a sense of peace, patience and even joy because of we know the end of the story! (John 14:27; James 1:2-4). Isn’t this what the apostle Paul means when he says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight”? (2 Corinthians 5:7). Does your trust in God give you insight and hope during the deepest times of trouble? Notice 3 truths about affliction from this passage.
As to Weight, Afflictions are “Light.” They seldom seem so at the time, do they? Cancer, dementia, the aging and decaying of our bodies, the struggles of life – these afflictions appear anything but “light.” However, our view of Jesus and eternity helps put things into perspective. Our faith in Christ causes us to weigh affliction differently.
As to Duration, Afflictions are “Momentary.” We often sigh and wonder “how long?” We may think our affliction is the longest “moment” ever! Maybe we’re dealing with an affliction that is not the toughest we’ve ever faced in intensity, but it seems so long lasting. Our faith in Christ causes us to view time in our affliction differently.
As to Usefulness, Afflictions “Work For Us.” They can work for us and in us. Our Lord learned obedience by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). Every affliction is an opportunity to be more conformed to Christ and to grow in faith (Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:6-9). We seldom view affliction as an opportunity. But rarely in life do we learn so much as we do from dealing with trials and troubles. Our faith in Christ causes us to view the circumstances of affliction differently.
Before we close, see the contrasts in this passage. (1) Against present “affliction” is future “glory”; (2) Against “light” affliction is “eternal weight”; (3) Against “things seen” is “things unseen”’ and, (4) Against “seen” and “transient” are “unseen” and “eternal.” No one will rise high in faith without the insight to rise above “see level.”