Look Past The Pain and See His Promise
Day 3 | Look Past The Pain and See His Promise
"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 4:17-18, ESV.
As a kid, I can remember doing really crazy things. My brothers and I would play this one dumb game called "tree swinging!" We would climb up to the top of a young skinny pine tree, maybe 20 feet high or so, whatever it took for the tree to start to bend, we would go so high that the tree would start to bend over. And then from the ground, we wait and watch as one of the brothers would hold tight as the tree would bend with increasing speed towards the ground, and if there was any opportunity to jump the goal was to jump to the next tree from the top and ride the next one down. I am sure we looked like monkeys because we were acting like them!
You can imagine, the game usually ended in pain. It's like most games at our house today with my kids. They start in on roughhousing, and we say as parents, "If you keep this up, someone is going to get hurt, and it's going to end with tears."
As Christians, we all get hurt, we all cry, we all do things from time to time that either hurts ourselves or others. Pain is just a part of life. But what's interesting is that God uses pain to prepare us. If we don't see the pain from God's perspective, it won't prepare us but scare us. What we need is perspective. Like hiking to the top of a mountain and looking out over a valley, you need a new view to see the pain from a divine perspective.
In Paul's letter to the church in Corinth, he tells them to keep perspective. Despite their afflictions. Paul isn't dismissing the pains and hurts of life. He knew what he felt like to be discouraged. (2 Cor. 1:3-4) He's just saying, they need to climb a little higher to see what he's seen!
He tells them, "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." (2 Corinthians 4:17)
He knew that at the end of every day, there was a sunrise, new mercy every day. (Lam. 3:22-23). He had a divine perspective. He could see past the pain and into God's promises.
He says the "eternal weight" is something that far outweighs the "light momentary affliction." He's comparing earthly troubles with eternal rewards. He's saying the eternal weighs more; it's heavier, it's bigger better! The lightweight is shrimpy and wimpy compared to the heavyweight of God's goodness in store for us.
His mind is likely considering theologically, the Judgement seat of Christ when believers will come before Christ after the rapture, to review their life and receive rewards for their life well lived. (2 Cor. 5:9-11) . He discusses this in the next chapter of his letter.
As believers, we can get stuck on focusing on our pain, not God's promise. We can't see past our problems and fears. Like Peter, when he was called out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water, "Peter stepped out of the boat, the wind picked up, the thunder cracked, and he started to panic," Jesus told him to look at him, Peter couldn't help to reconsider this whole thing, he looked at the water, the storm clouds, and started to sink. The scripture tells us that, When Peter "saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink; he cried out, "Lord, save me." Peter took his eyes off his Savior and saw only the storm. He was seized with fear, and fear overcame him, and he began to sink. (Mt 14:30) As Christians, we are sure to sink if we take our eyes off God.
We see storms of life roll in, we get hit with hardships, trials, and temptations start taking us down, and all we can see is the storm, we miss the Savior.
In Paul's letter to the church, he doesn't tell them to dismiss the problems but look past them. See past the problems and keep an eternal perspective. In other words, he was actually telling him to look past their problems by comparing them to the eternal rewards and glory that await us in heaven.
If the average person lives to 79 years old, that's nothing compared to the life we will have in eternity with God! It's forever! God's word challenges us to keep that kind of perspective! It's not that we should act like our problems don't exist, or our pain doesn't exist as some would do. Rather Paul challenges us to look past the pain and trust that God has far greater plans to work all things together for our good and that the pain we feel today is nothing compared to the glory we will have in heaven! (Rom. 8:28) That's pain in perspective, which we all need.