December 14, 2021
Scripture: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 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 4:16-18 ESV
Observation: Having addressed the work of the Holy Spirit transforming us from glory to glory (3:17-18), Paul turns the church’s attention to the glory of Christ revealed in the light of the Gospel that shines through us—all the brighter in our weaknesses (4:1-12). He then addresses our hope of the resurrection: that when we pass from this temporal life, we will be present with Jesus (4:13-14). Hence, we do not lose heart with the aging process or afflictions (4:16 above).
Takeaway: It’s easy to become discouraged when pain and suffering keep coming our way. So how do we not lose heart? Paul reminded the Corinthians that God’s grace mediates our heartache. Hence, onlookers who see us persevere through trials will give thanks to the glory of God. In other words, our pain has a purpose. As highlighted at the end of chapter 3, the Holy Spirit utilizes our suffering to transform us into the image of Christ (who suffered for us). And the cracks inflicted by our trials permit the light of Christ to shine all the brighter through us to others.
In verses 17-18 above, he also reminds us that our afflictions are momentary and preparing us for an “eternal weight glory that is beyond all comparison.” What is this eternal weight of glory? It is an infilling of the Father and Son, who are the only ones who can bear the weight of divine glory. Still, because we will enjoy an intimate oneness with our Lord, we will not be crushed by its weight. It is a glory that satisfies our every longing and desire—that wipes away every tear and overwhelms us with ecstatic joy. Therefore, like Paul, we will rise above our transient suffering by God’s grace, confident that our pain prepares us for his eternal glory.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son, who for the joy set before him endured immense suffering on a cross for our sake. Would you please help us tap into his and your grace and rise above our suffering, knowing that pain prepares us for your glory? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling