2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
I read verse one of this chapter and almost stopped right there and wrote on that, and had the same reaction again and again as I kept reading. This is so extremely rich! I finally chose to write on this verse largely because I quote it so often! This verse, along with John 16:33, which I also quote with great frequency, should give us the perspective to be able to handle anything life throws at us. The devil loves to get us to focus on the immediate difficulty, be it cancer or a paper cut. When he succeeds, we lose our joy and sometimes our hope, and he is always out to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) To maintain the joy and peace God has provided for us, (John 14:27; 16:22) we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2-3) All of that is exactly what Paul is talking about in this verse. Because we are in the flow of time, we are inherently prone to misplaced perspective. Adults are often amused at the antics of children when something minor happens, but I think God is the same way with us, because He sees the end from the beginning. He abides in the eternal glory that Paul mentions here, and He knows that He has called us into it as well. When we have that understanding, temporal issues cease to distress us, as Paul goes on to explain in the very next verse.
This is an understanding that I’m growing into. My wife and I have a regular Internet chat time with our two grown daughters, and we have been using a set of “conversation cards” to be sure that those times deepen our understanding of each other. Two of the four questions for today are, “What do you like best about your current age?” and, “What do you like least about your current age?” I knew my answers immediately when I saw the questions. What I like least is the physical deterioration that comes with age, even though it has been mercifully slow in my case. What I like best is my growing grasp of the eternal perspective Paul is talking about here. I do still get frustrated and upset at times, but I’m much more at peace with, “This too will pass.” That’s particularly valuable with the physical difficulties I just mentioned! I want to be fully present and useful to my Lord here and now, but I am increasingly looking forward to the eternal glory that awaits me. Yesterday we had news that my 82-year-old sister was taken to the emergency room with COVID. I pray God’s best for her, but I know that could either be more time here or going on to glory. That’s actually a dilemma for every believer, as Paul wrote to the Philippians. (Philippians 1:21-24) I am to rest, relax, and rejoice, just as God told me to do, so that His purposes for me may be fulfilled for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I do pray for my sister, and for all who are concerned for her. May Your perfect will, and Yours alone, be done, not only in her case but in all the world, just as Jesus told us to pray, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!