16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Paul finishes chapter four with a powerful encouragement to know that whatever trouble we go through, it pales in comparison to the hope we have in out eternal glory! When reading this, we can think Paul musn’t have known much suffering. How wrong this is! David Guzik supplies a list of what Paul went through (quotes from pauls own words):
· Stripes· Prisons· Beaten· Stoned· Shipwrecked· Perils of waters· Robbers· In perils of my own countrymen· In perils of the Gentiles· In perils in the city· In perils in the wilderness· In perils in the sea· In perils among false brethren· In weariness and toil· In sleeplessness often· In hunger and thirst· In fastings often· In cold and nakedness
Paul doesn’t write as one unfamiliar with pain, but one who is well acquainted with it. However, when he places his suffering on a scale then he places his eternal hope and glory we have in the coming kingdom of Jesus….the future outweighs the present suffering enormously.
Why don’t we feel this in our day to day? Because we have a weak theology of our future hope. What do you believe is the future hope promised to all those who remain faithful til the end? So much of how we act in the present is defined by what we believed about our future. We have a God who promises our suffering is not the end of the story, no, what lays before us is far greater than anything which lays behind.
Jesus, remind me of the future promise you have in store for all those that believe. Refill my heart with the image of what our future glory will be like if we put our faith and trust in you. Amen