Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –
After your weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world – could you please take a moment to read and consider this deep thought from 2 Corinthians 4:17?
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
Years ago I read about an unemployed man in Tokyo who created a job for himself. He dressed in protective padding and let people on the streets of Tokyo wear boxing gloves and beat him for three minutes. He made $10 a turn and said, “I enjoy being used as a punching bag, it’s… another way to experience life. I want to continue as long as my body holds up.”
As we serve God, sometimes we feel like a punching bag. We don’t seek this out, and when we face the bumps and bruises of ministry, we want them to heal as quickly as possible. Paul bore many afflictions (2 Corinthians 6:45), and probably didn’t enjoy them. Yet he saw value in them, and estimated them to be light afflictions.
How can we see our affliction as light when it seems so heavy?
Our affliction is light compared to what others are suffering. No matter how bad we have it, there are many others who suffer worse.
Our affliction is light compared to what we deserve. We often don’t like to think about it, but haven’t we sinned against God again and again? Jesus learned through what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). Perhaps God wants to use a season of affliction to teach me something.
Our affliction is light compared to what Jesus suffered for us. There is simply no comparison between what we are going through and all Jesus suffered spiritually, emotionally, and physically – and all for us, not for Himself.
Our affliction is light compared to the blessings we enjoy. We often ask, “why do I deserve this?” But that question applies to our times of blessing, which are actually far greater than our afflictions.
Our affliction is light compared to the sustaining power of God’s grace. He can and does strengthen us, as we humbly receive His help, no matter how He brings it to us.
Our affliction is light compared to the glory it leads to. God has eternal glories to work in us through our present affliction – including the bumps and bruises the belong to ministry. Those eternal glories are a greater prize than anything we can see on earth.
Your afflictions are real. Yet comparatively, they are light. Rest in Him, rest in that today.
Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik