Today's Quality Quote comes from Arthur W Pink:
"[Afflictions] are light when compared with what we really deserve. They are light when compared with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps their real lightness is best seen by comparing them with the weight of glory which is awaiting us."
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day."
"For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison"
(II Cor 4:16-17 ESV)
With the resurrection of Jesus Christ in view, we who trust in Him are also guaranteed that we will be resurrected. There is no need for us to worry or grow weary even as we persevere under persecution, tribulation, or trials. We are only too aware that these things wear on us and can wear us out, however, as we continue to look to Jesus in faith we are revitalized every day.
The reason we do not "loose heart" is the fact that Paul reminds us that are afflictions are actually very useful and educational. What, educational? Useful? Yes!
First, in relationship to eternity they are very light. Secondly, they are temporary. The word the Holy Spirit chose to use means "for the moment." They do not nor will they last very long, again, if you compare them to eternity. Thirdly, they prepare us for "an eternal weight in glory."
Don't make the mistake of thinking Paul did not feel his pain or that he did not suffer. He was well aware of the beatings, torture, and the pain that he experienced. He obviously felt the full force of the scourgings, the hunger, the thirst, harassment, and the various anxieties he faced.
We cannot make an additional mistake of thinking that we are to deny the pain, sorrow, or the suffering that we experience in this life. God will often use these "afflictions" to purge sin from our lives, develop Christ likeness, and foster spiritual maturity.
It comes down to proper perspective. When we compare the temporary things that we might be suffering against the eternity that we will experience in glory, they seem as nothing. These things may last from the cradle to the grave, but they really are short lived. It is like comparing a sixty minute period of time to three years.
For whatever reason our loving and wise Father has determined to make us ready for our eternal stay in heaven by "afflictions." As somewhat veiled to us as it may seem, God has determined to give us joy as a reward for our suffering but also to use these things as the means to work out joy in our lives.
This of course is a whole other idea in itself. God has promised to us a joy that is indescribable and unassailable. Yet, He works that joy out by various things (afflictions) that could and often produces sorrow. We will save that for another time.
Suffice to say, that we are not to look for afflictions, but when they come we rejoice in them and recognize the significance that they contain. The are preparing us for an eternal weight (heaviness) of glory!