I have Bible verses I don’t like. I know I’m probably not supposed to admit that, but it’s true. There are some verses in the Bible that I just get mad at God for including. That’s not to say I don’t believe them, mind you. The entirety of God’s Word is active, alive, inspired, and for our good. I know that. But, man, some of the things God says are hard pills to swallow.
One of the verses in Scripture that trips me up time and again is 2 Corinthians 4:17. It states, “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory” (CSB). I’ve never liked the fact that God tells us that our struggles are “momentary and light.” Sometimes, I start having these internal monologues with myself, like, God, if you only knew what I’ve gone through, you wouldn’t call it light.
Have you ever felt that way?
I remember when my sister had double kidney failure and almost died. I was in college at the time, and I could barely function. How could I focus on classes when my sister was fighting for her life in a hospital bed? That didn’t feel like a light and momentary trouble. Around that same time, some of my closest friendships fell apart. I felt alone, helpless, and unloved.
I remember sitting in chapel and listening to a sermon around that time about 2 Corinthians 4:17, and I almost wanted to scream at the speaker. How dare they tell me that what I was going through was momentary? Whenever we go through the trials of life — be it sickness, familial strife, relational heartache, the loss of a job, you name it — it feels like the greatest weight in the world. At that moment, I felt like I was being told that the pains in my life didn’t mean anything.
Some of us have walked through hell. Our bodies are failing us. Some of us have lost loved ones. We’ve been wounded by people in our inner circles. Our mental health is struggling. The pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Many of us have had our hearts metaphorically ripped out and now we’re forced to keep going through each day with open holes in our chests. None of what we’re going through is light. Pain is paralyzing. Heartache and grief can ruin us.
What I’m learning, however, is that God doesn’t scoff at my pain. In fact, as I’ve gotten older and experienced more hardships, I’ve realized that 2 Corinthians 4:17 isn’t about minimizing our sufferings at all.
God isn’t telling me that my struggles don’t matter. He’s giving me a promise that one day my pain will end. In fact, He’s telling us that even the worst imaginable suffering on earth will be nothing compared to the “eternal weight of glory.”
2 Corinthians 4:17 is about perspective. When we experience unimaginable grief, our Abba Father lifts our chin so that we can look up, not out. He whispers in our ear, “Persevere, my child. I’m here. Something better is coming.” In fact, the following verse drives this home: “So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). We must endure grief and hardship with eternity in our sight. When life feels stifled in the crippling hands of suffering, our hearts and minds must never lose hope. Our lives are not meaningless, and God is still faithful.
Beloved, I know this might not mean much now, but know this: everything in life is temporary, including our pain. God won’t always take away our pain, but He does promise to be our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). We can’t quit. We must persevere, because God is guiding us into a glorious future where no tear will ever be shed again. Rest in that promise. This world is not our final home. A day is coming when joy will be ours and no one and nothing can ever take it away again.