Affliction Prepares You For Glory

Friday, March 1, 2013

II Cor. 4:17: For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

When is a bottle of Gatorade more satisfying? After you’ve spent 3 hours on the couch watching a movie? Or after an exhausting 3-mile run?
When does your pillow feel softer? After a day of vacation on a beach with your feet propped up? Or after a long Saturday spent raking the leaves and cleaning out the gutters?

Here’s a fact of life: Agony best prepares you for refreshment. Labor best prepares you for rest.

If you ever wonder why our loving Father would allow faithful believers to experience affliction and pain, never forget: affliction prepares you for glory.

Think of the afflictions Paul endured, despite being one of the most faithful believers we know. Here is Paul’s "resume of suffering”:
In far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my concern for all the churches. (II Corinthians 11:23–27)

However, Paul says: this affliction is preparing me for glory. And the level of affliction I endure can’t even be compared to the level of glory I will experience. The pains of this life that we experience can feel like a heavy burden. But the perspective of eternity can make these burdens seem light in comparison. Notice the terms of measurement: “light affliction”… “weight of glory.” It brings to mind the image of a old fashioned scale: one side with a feather, the other side with a pile of bricks. 

But even this image doesn’t get us all the way to the reality. The weight of our future glory in heaven is “beyond all comparison.” To describe the weight of glory, Paul used the greek word huperbole which means “far surpassing” or “extreme,” then he wrote that word a second time to increase the emphasis. It’s not easy to translate the full force of this phrase into English, but I appreciate the way this phrase is rendered in the HCSB: “an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.” There is no scale in existence – no standard of comparison in our conception – that could accurately show how light our afflictions are compared to the eternal weight of future glory. It wouldn’t even be fair to say it’s a billion times weightier. It’s like comparing a 3-year-old’s craft project to the works of Rembrandt. It's like comparing a the skill of a first-grader learning the recorder to the skill of a master musician like Yo-Yo Ma. There is no comparison! Perhaps the most accurate thing I can say is that eternal glory is infinitely weightier than the worst affliction on earth.

And our future glory will last forever. It is “eternal.” It will never end. A million years from now we will look back on our 70-80 year time in these bodies and see that it was just a vapor in the wind. Filled with pain, yes. Filled with sorrow, yes. But “momentary.” Fleeting. And followed by joy with God in glory for never-ending eons of time!

Believe the very great and precious promises of God! Affliction prepares you for glory...when affliction is met by faith.

II Cor. 4:18: 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.


  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP