What if I told you that modern medicine had created a shot that would, within seven days of taking it, give you super human capabilities? That this new drug had been vetted by the FDA, the results were proven, and there was no chance of side effects. That the new medicine would give you amazing strength, intelligence that rivaled Einstein, sight that made a hawk look blind, and that your body would be resistant to diseases and infection, BUT (and there is always a “but”) you would have to be sick for one week…would you take the new shot? I don’t know about you, but I personally believe that folks would be lining up for miles and would be willing to pay incredible amounts of money to get this treatment, even though they knew they would first be sick before they would get better.
I’m sorry to pop your bubble, but there is no drug like the one mentioned above, but the concept is analogous to what is promised in the Christian life. Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that there is a “momentary, light affliction producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison”. This verse gives us truth that can help us wade through the darkest times in our lives, because we know that in the end we will never be the same.
Paul says your affliction is light and momentary. The human tendency is to see suffering and trials as long and never ending. This is a lie we tell ourselves, and are told by the enemy, to get us to give up, to give into sin and turn our back on God and call him a liar. Imagine the person who took the shot in the story above; on day three he began to complain to the Doctor that it would never end and that he simply wanted to die. The good Physician would never allow that person to quit the process, he would simply continue to encourage his patient to stay the course without losing hope. Why? Because he knew the result would soon be there, and it would be amazing.
Paul is able to call these afflictions “light” and “momentary” because, even though in the moment they are very real, just like the sickness that comes with the medicine, in the entire view of things it is a small price to pay.
Second, Paul says that these afflictions produce an eternal weight of glory. There are very few things in life that for a short moment produce everlasting consequences. Suffering falls into such a category. The growth that Christians experience in this life, while very real and hard, produces growth that lasts forever! I don’t know about the investment strategy that your broker uses in the stock market, but I don’t think even the best sales person can promise everlasting results.
Greater Than You Can Imagine
Finally, we are told that all of the change that we will experience will be far beyond anything we can imagine. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes have a crazy imagination (hence the story above). We are told that the results of these momentary afflictions will be even greater than we ever could have imagined.
Trials are coming in your life (if they’re not there already); the truth of these scriptures can give us perspective when trials come our way. When you are going through deep and hard waters, look to promises like these and trust that God is using these trials for our good. He is using them to make us more like Christ, and the result will change us forever.