II Corinthians 4: 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Job 42: 12 So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
This is a strange description of our suffering—calling them our light affliction. We may ask if Paul is being fair in calling our afflictions light. He doesn’t say it lightly. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. Though John wrote that he wished we would prosper and be in health, it was only his wish; it was not doctrine. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials and afflictions.
We do prosper. No matter the health of our bodies, it doesn’t affect our soul. Regardless of what touches us, if we maintain our integrity, the devil can’t take our relationship with God away from us. It is accurate in the big picture to call our afflictions light. If we’re not careful we get caught up in the moment and lose courage and faith. Our afflictions have a good purpose. No one is above them. We’ve all had them. We all have them. We all will have them. We have no idea what we might suffer in days to come. God has helped us survive so far, and he’ll continue to do so.
We can suffer physically, personally, and spiritually, sometimes all at once. Bone, nerve, and muscle pain hurt. Diseased organs hurt. Chest pains of heart attacks themselves can kill you. Cancer pain is bad. None of these are easy pains. Physical and mental abuse is personal pain and suffering. Loneliness is a horrible pain. Even the strongest of Christians can get depressed. Grief over loss of loved ones is hard especially during the holidays. How can Paul call these pains light? Satan catches us down and hurting and drives it home trying to get us to doubt God and withdraw from church and our fellow Christians. Paul calls it light affliction.
He knows we’re suffering. Verse 16 says for which cause we faint not. We don’t give up. We know that He who raised Jesus will raise us up. In the end, victory will be ours. Verse 15 says for all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. Even bad things are for our sake. If it wasn’t for the afflictions you and I would tend not to trust God as we should. When we draw near to him we experience grace and help we would not receive under other circumstances. He may not cause the hurting to stop, but he gives us grace to bear it. There is no way for us to describe it, but we’ve all felt it. Don’t be overcome by your afflictions. The Lord is in control of all things. The “how” in “how we’ll make it” is Jesus. We’re all blessed and fairing pretty well. God provides our needs even in our afflictions.
They are light in comparison to others worse off than we are…AND…there are others worse off. Think of those in burn units. That’s tremendous pain. There is always someone worse. It is light in comparison to what it would be. Things could be worse. Life changes, but the mental, physical, and spiritual suffering could be worse. It is light in comparison to eternal damnation. I’d rather suffer as a Christian than to cruise through life and die and go to hell. I’m so thankful the Lord saved me from hell. Though I may suffer, I’m still saved. We may be stripped of things we used to have. Hang in there! God restored Job’s life because he retained his integrity. God blessed him. No matter how much it hurts, we can still say “thank God I’m saved.” Though the outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day. If we hold the faith, the inward man will leave this world as new as the day we were born again.
Affliction is only for a moment. It’s temporary. Verse 17 confirms this by saying our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It is temporary and works something positive for us. Jesus suffered for us one time. He was raised from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God in heaven. The things we see with these eyes and face in our daily lives are temporary. Praise the Lord that we can see beyond them. There are things we can’t see; they are eternal.
When my mom’s time of suffered ended, a peace came in the room. The realness of Jesus was there. That peace is waiting on us. What our saved loved ones saw as they left this world is waiting on us. They are waiting on us. The unseen hand of Jesus is greater than the afflictions we have. It helps them seem light reminding us they are temporary. No matter how bad it gets between now and heaven, Jesus is here for us. Heaven will be worth it all.
Jesus saw the worth. He went to prepare a place for us and he will come back for us. We can make it through him. Look at the things which are not seen. Don’t give the devil the time of day. Pay more attention to the reality of the unseen. Because we read and believe this we can speak its truth until our faith becomes sight.
Paul said it right. May the Lord make your every affliction light. Trust him. He will give you the strength you need.