Our Light Affliction
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For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.—2 Corinthians 4:17
My God, I have never thanked Thee for my “thorn!” I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my “thorn”; I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross as itself a present glory. Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my “thorn.” Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.—George Matheson, a well-known blind Scottish preacher who wrote the hymn “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go”
I do allow troubles sometimes, but always to accomplish something good in your life. Even when you bring on those troubles through your own mistakes or sins, I want you to use them as steppingstones to take you to higher ground. I want each one to bring you a step closer to Me.
Troubles show you that you aren’t sufficient in yourself. They make you realize your need for Me and help you learn to depend on Me. As you trust Me through difficult times, you will grow in faith, you will better understand My Word and wise and loving ways, and you will feel My love and come to know Me in a deeper and more personal way than you ever could otherwise.
One day you will be able to look at troubles and trials and see them as needed steppingstones. You will see then that they brought you to the special place I have for you, near to My heart.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
“If we suffer, we shall also reign”
Life is full of problems. If we’re not careful, this present world and all of its struggles will fill up our time and thoughts. We get mired in our problems and can’t see anything beyond them.
God wants us to look ahead, past our present problems. He wants us to think not in terms of how things are, but how they could be.
When Jesus left this earth and returned to heaven, He explained that He was going ahead of us, to prepare a place for us—a place with many mansions, where there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain.1 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.”2
Knowing what glories, treasures, and rewards await us in heaven makes our present difficulties, trials, and tribulations bearable.
It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus;
Life’s trials will seem so small, when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ!
“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. If we endure, we shall also reign.”3
Our time on earth is an important part of God’s plan for each of us, but it doesn’t end here. Everything we go through now is not only making us into the men and women we need to be in order to accomplish His immediate goals, but it’s also for the future, for the next life. It’s preparation for all that the Lord has in store for us, short-term and long-term.
So when you’re besieged and buffeted by trials, worries, and fears, when life is a daily struggle and you wonder whether it’s really worth it, remember what you have to look forward to. When your time on earth is over and you meet Jesus and enter His heavenly kingdom, you’ll receive a reward beyond description for having fought the “good fight.”4
Yes, life is a struggle. But you can know that your difficulties and trials are for a purpose.
He loves you, and everything that He allows to come into your life—whether it seems good or bad—can work for the best. If you trust Him through it, you will become a better, wiser, more loving, more useful Christian—a tool in His hands, a vessel through which He can freely pour forth the waters of His love and Word to comfort and strengthen others in need.
So when things seem dark, confusing, or cloudy, when tears fill your eyes and despair tries to take hold of your heart, look away from yourself and this world’s woes. Look up into the eyes of one who loves you and tenderly cares for you. Find comfort in His loving arms, and find peace and faith through His strengthening words of life.
Look on all that He has blessed you with, and thank Him for it. And then look up and forward to all that He has in store for you, the rewards and blessings that He has promised for those who persevere and hold on. Keeping your eyes on the end of the road—heaven—will be a great encouragement to you, and will reassure you that the difficulties you may go through here are worth it all.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”5—Be an overcomer!—Shannon Shayler
Published on Anchor February 2020. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
Music by Michael Dooley.
1 John 14:2; Revelation 21:4.
2 1 Corinthians 2:9–10.
3 2 Corinthians 4:17–18; 2 Timothy 2:12.
4 2 Timothy 4:7–8.
5 Psalm 37:4; Romans 8:18.