COMFORT IN TRIALS
Our Momentary Lightness of Affliction Working Out for Us an Eternal Weight of Glory
2 Cor. 4:16-17 Therefore we do not lose heart; but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory.
When We Pass through All the Sufferings,
the Lord’s Grace Being Sufficient for Us
When Paul was suffering because of a thorn in the flesh, he asked the Lord three times to remove it (2 Cor. 12:7-8). But the Lord answered Paul, saying, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” The Lord seemed to be telling Paul, “I shall not be so foolish as to take away the thorn. Rather, I shall afford you My sufficient grace. I shall minister Myself to you as the supply, as the grace, as the bread and wine, that will sustain and support you as you pass through all the sufferings. These sufferings will produce glory in you.” (Life-Study of Hebrews, msg. 10)
Many things had happened that could have caused Paul and his co-workers to be disappointed or to lose heart. Hardly anything was encouraging. Nevertheless, because they were in resurrection, they did not lose heart. As our mortal body, our outward man, is being consumed by the killing work of death, our inward man, that is, our regenerated spirit with the inward parts of our being (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; Rom. 7:22, 25), is being metabolically renewed day by day with the supply of resurrection life. (Life-study of 2 Corinthians, msg. 11)
Learning to Enjoy God Himself in the Midst of Trial
Beloved brothers and sisters, the devastation that suffering brings to the old creation provides an opportunity for the God of resurrection to impart Himself into us. Through hardship and pressure a divine element is being wrought into our whole being.
The Christian’s happiness is not to be found in external things but in learning to enjoy God Himself in the midst of trial. Paul and Silas could rejoice and sing His praises while they were in prison because their happiness did not come from outer circumstances but from an inner enjoyment of God (Acts 16:22-25). In Paul’s short letter to the Philippians, written during his imprisonment, there are over a score of references to joy. In deep distress he could still be joyful because in his affliction he was learning to know Christ, to appropriate Him, and to enjoy Him. Paul’s outward circumstances were all conducive to sorrow, but it was in sorrow that Christ was imparted to him as the source of his joy. (The Living God and the God of Resurrection, msg. 3)
The Lightness of the Affliction Working for Us
the Eternal Weight of Glory
Brothers and sisters, do you feel that you are under a heavy weight? Paul knew that sufferings help to bring us into glory and so he could say, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outer man is consumed, yet the inner man is being renewed day by day. For the present lightness of the affliction worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:16-17, Gk.). Here we see three comparisons: affliction with glory, lightness with weight, and present with eternal. Whatever sufferings we pass through are the lightness. This present lightness of affliction cannot compare with the eternal weight of glory. Do not be troubled by your sufferings. Rather, you must tell Satan, “Satan, regardless of the sufferings that I am passing through, I am happy. This is not a weight; it is lightness.” The present lightness of the affliction works for us the eternal weight of glory. (Life-study of Hebrews, msg. 10)
Lord Jesus, praise you as the resurrected God. Your grace is sufficient for me in every situation. O, Lord, You know my every situation. Supply me with bread and wine that I can rejoice in all circumstances. Lord Jesus, I worship You. I do not lose heart when I have You. Although the outer man is decaying, yet the inner man is being renewed day by day. Amen!