“For our light affliction which is but for a moment …”
The passage intrigued me. To consider the loss of my twelve year old son, Andrew, to brain cancer, as light or momentary was inscrutable. There were mornings when I just wanted to escape from reality rather than face another day without the youngest member of our family.
As I ran I prayed. “God, how is it possible to look at suffering as light and momentary?”
The mind blowing loss is hard and heavy – the very antithesis of 2 Corinthians 4:17. However as I continued to run and meditate further on the passage I found the answer to my prayer in verse 18. “Do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
In the midst of suffering it is difficult to focus on anything except the source and symptoms of the pain. We must deal with our present reality, yet if we look beyond our present circumstance and fix our eyes on the eternal, we gain a new perspective. What is now is temporary and even light compared with the glory we will know for eternity. Paul, the author of 2 Corinthians teaches us that our suffering actually works on our behalf to produce glory.
Glory is not our payback or compensation for our suffering; it is the Heavenly product of suffering.
Only in view of eternity, am I able to consider affliction light and temporary. As I fix my eyes on the eternal, my vision is enlarged and I glimpse what is to come – a far more exceeding glory with which earthly suffering is not worthy to be compared.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary and the things which are not seen are eternal.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
If you are walking a difficult road of suffering, take five minutes to go outside and look up to the heavens. Scan the vast sky, intentionally allowing your vision to be enlarged. Then open your heart with a prayer to your Father.
You might pray something like this:
Father, I am in a place of suffering that I did not choose. Clarify my spiritual vision so that I may fix my eyes on your goodness and your greatness. I trust you for the grace to face my now while also entrusting you with my future in all its glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Are you in a place of suffering? While I may not be able to alleviate that for you, I can pray for you.
© 2011 by Melanie Dorsey. All rights reserved.