I live with a chronic illness that makes simple daily life physically challenging. I am constantly weak and exhausted. It is hard for me to sit or stand, and sometimes it is impossible. In recent days I have barely been able to make it two hours without needing help. Sometimes in the midst of these troubles I lose perspective, my soul grows weary, and I feel like I can’t go on.
Life is hard. We all suffer in one way or another. Jesus said we would (John 16:33). In the midst of suffering, I find encouragement in God’s Word, and that is what keeps me going.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 is one of my favorite verses to read when I’m having a hard day.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (NIV).
Light and momentary troubles? There are days when my troubles feel anything but light and momentary! They feel awful and overwhelming. But when I shift my focus from my immediate circumstances to an eternal perspective, I see my troubles for what they truly are: brief. Compared to eternity, this is just a moment. Suffering is only for a time; it will one day end. Heaven will last forever.
Okay, so the troubles of today are brief compared to eternity. I get that. But light? How are these afflictions light? They feel so heavy. My body grows weaker, and apart from a miracle, it will never function normally again. I can’t be the wife and mother for my family that I want to be. This isn’t light; this is huge!
While my troubles may feel like a huge weight, according to verse 17 they aren’t, not when compared to the eternal glory that awaits me. God’s Word promises that the eternal glory being prepared for me far outweighs my troubles. Put the two on a balance, and the weight of reward in Heaven is way out of proportion to the weight of suffering in this life. One day in Heaven I will see that the suffering I endured in the past was more than worth it.
There is value in my current suffering because faithful suffering in Christ’s name is what actually achieves an eternal weight of glory. If I remain faithful in my troubles today, the glory awaiting me in Heaven will be greater than if I had remained faithful without ever having suffered. When I pause to think about that, it astounds me. My reward in Heaven will be greater because of what I am enduring now!
My dear sisters in Christ, when you find yourself in the midst of suffering, keep an eternal perspective so that you don’t lose heart. These troubles are momentary; they are light, and they are valuable. If you are faithful to the Lord your God, your reward in Heaven will be great, and your current pain will be worth it all.
Today my body is weak, but my inner self has found strength by resting on God’s truth. I find joy in this journey as I look forward to the glory that awaits me.
In what ways has God called you to suffer? How have you found hope in His Word?