2 Corinthians 4:17 “For this light, momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
When I read this verse, my thoughts go to my own personal “affliction” that I am dealing with and it neither feels light nor momentary. I suspect many of you reading this might feel the same about what you are going through right now or have gone through in the past. There are many trials that we can face in this life. I have gone through my fair share and know others who have gone through very hard things…loss of a spouse, a child, a marriage ending, and many other things. In this scripture there are several words that carry a lot of meaning. I began to focus on the words “Preparing us for the eternal weight of glory” I was reminded of a soldier going through training. My husband and I were recently on Coronado Island where the Navy Seals train on a section of the beach there. It came to mind so I googled Seal training. I found a video of a former Navy Seal talking about what they go through to train. He said that there is one part of training called “Bud’s” where they have you dive in a very deep pool wearing the diving gear. He said you have to stay down there a long time, then when you are about out of air, one of the instructors dives in and unhooks your hoses, ties them in knots and roughs you up a little bit, then goes back to the surface to watch and see how you handle it. He said they are testing you to see how comfortable you are under water and that it is the longest 30 minutes of your life, while you try to get your hoses back on with only the air left in your lungs. He said the most important thing is to “Stay calm, conserve your air, and work the problem until relief comes, when someone dives down and gives you the thumbs up.” As I compare this difficult situation they are in during this training, to the scripture verse, I can see the “affliction” but I can also understand that as hard as it must be, it still can be considered “light and momentary.” What makes it light and momentary? The fact that it is momentary lightens it somewhat, but most of all, it can be considered light because it is a test. It’s not a true life or death situation. There is someone above the water watching over them. Regardless of whether they handle it well and pass the test or whether they panic, blow it and fail, they are not going to drown. There is relief above the water, watching over them as they train. It’s practice. It’s HARD practice, but it is practice. This fact, this reality, that someone is watching over them while they train, is what makes it light and momentary.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16 “We are afflicted but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed. (vs 16) So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is waisting away, the inner self is being renewed day by day.”
When we find ourselves in difficult situations, we need to seek the face of God and get in his presence. In scripture it says “when we behold the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed into the same image, from one glory to another. ” 2 Cor. 3:16-18 The scripture says we go from glory to glory. This is referring to each trial and victory. The definition of glory is “high renown or honor won by notable achievements.”Those difficult things we go through are like our “Special Ops” training. As we go through a trial, it strengthens our spiritual man as we learn and grow in our faith. The victory on the other side of the trial is the glory.
James 1:2 “Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trails of various kinds, for you know that the TESTING of your faith produces steadfastness (loyalty, in the face of trouble and difficulty, resolution, resolve) and let steadfastness have it’s full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
At the end of the Seal video, he says that anyone can become a seal. Anyone can do it. He says “you just need to have dedication, and passion and resolve in mind and spirit.” When we give our hearts and minds to the Lord, we begin training for “Special Ops” but not the same kind as the brave and wonderful soldiers that serve and protect us and our wonderful country. We become a soldier in the army of God. We have a calling to eternal purpose. With Gods help, we can make it through trials, while having faith and confidence that it is momentary. The trials are strengthening our spiritual character. So then what? We are called to share with others, the trials, our faith and the glory of Gods victory through it, so they too can be encouraged and have faith in God. Then we are advancing the kingdom of God. That is eternal glory.
2 Corinthians 4:13 “Since we have the same spirit of faith, we also believe and so WE ALSO SPEAK.”
We are here to make a difference in the kingdom of God. When we speak, when we share the gospel with others, we are making an eternal difference in their lives. Let’s ask ourselves, “What are we doing that is eternal?”
2 Corinthians 4:17 “For this light, momentary affliction is PREPARING YOU, for the weight of ETERNAL glory, beyond all comparison.”
When we go from glory to glory, learning and growing through the trials of this life, thats great, but it’s not until we share the gospel with others, and show them that Jesus is our Savior and their Savior, that we make an eternal difference. That is the eternal weight of glory. When those soldiers pass Seal training, and become a Navy Seal, the testing is over. THEN they are in real situations making real life or death decisions. The training prepared them to handle the weight of those actions. When they succeed in their mission, there is glory in that victory, but that glory carries with it a weight. They are now taking action that has eternal results, because they are saving peoples lives. They understand the meaning of the eternal weight of glory. The challenge we can take from these scriptures is to remember when we are going through trials, to not focus on the circumstances and become consumed and overwhelmed by them, but instead “Stay calm, conserve your air, and work the problem until relief comes.” Clint Emerson. Let’s remember that God is there, watching over us.
2 Corinthians 4:18 “As we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are ETERNAL.
Let’s remind ourselves to keep an eternal perspective. God is faithful. He is always there, watching over us. We should learn, grow, and look outside our circumstances and outside our own issues. The enemy wants to keep us consumed by our own problems so we loose sight of the unseen. What are we doing that is eternal?
Prayer: Lord thank you for your steadfast love and faithfulness. Please help us to remember your faithfulness when we are in the middle of affliction. Please help us to keep an eternal perspective and not be consumed by our problems, but instead, work through them with faith. Help us to share the good news of Jesus and our faith with others.