Although I’ve written on this a handful of times before, including some of my own personal journey, I believe we need regular reminders. Unfortunately it is easy for us to abandon all we learned through a difficult season when things seem to be going our way.
I want to share this word of encouragement with you today:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)
I love Paul’s words here when he says, “For this light momentary affliction…” These light momentary afflictions are spelled out in 2 Corinthians 11:23, “…with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”
There is no doubt that Paul knew suffering and difficulty very well. He knew physical suffering intimately. He also knew emotional suffering intimately. Amidst all of this, what drove Paul forward in His life and on the mission he had been given?
Paul had his eyes set on the only thing bigger than all he was facing physically and emotionally. His faith in the unseen, as illogical as it would have felt to him at many times, was the hope-engine that kept him running.
I’m not sure what you are facing or what you are feeling. You may be in the depths of great physical despair which has left you feeling very hopeless. You may be in the depths of emotional despair feeling as though you are in the collision apex of frustration, anger, and depression (just to name a few). In both of these there is great HOPE for those who are in Messiah Jesus.
The season that you find yourself in today is one which is wrought by God for His great and unimaginable purposes in you and through you. He is transforming you in a way that only He can. He is preparing you for things that you are unable to expect. Through your season of difficulty, He is preparing you for richer joy than you knew possible.
So, as Paul says, do not lose heart! Find hope in the One who loves you enough to graciously transform you. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
Do not lose heart!