Our Light Affliction
By Pastor J.D. Link
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I encourage you to read 2Cor 4:15-18. Verse 17 says, “For our light affliction (tribulation, trouble, persecution), which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Notice, Paul encourages us to count our afflictions as “light“, but the exceeding eternal glory as “weighty“. The eternal glory far outweighs the temporary troubles. Perhaps some might think, “Well, that’s easy for Paul to say. He didn’t go through what I have. He doesn’t understand.” You may be able to say that to me or others, but not to the Apostle Paul. Check out 2Cor 11:23-28 for some of Paul’s “light” afflictions. Most of us have no idea what affliction is – compared to him. So, when he says he counts his afflictions as light, what are you and I going through that we cannot count as light?
A.W. Pink said, “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.” We must keep this in mind. It’s all about perspective. How you perceive things in your heart. Though Paul suffered much, his perspective was, “This is nothing compared to the eternal glory!”
Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon (estimate, conclude) that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” As a Texan, I “reckon” Paul is right. Do you reckon the affliction great, or do you reckon the glory great? It’s all perspective. Someone could be going through a great trial, and you would never know it. Why? Because they reckoned it as nothing. Another could be going through some fairly insignificant circumstance, and everyone would know it. Why? Because they reckoned it a big deal, when it really isn’t.
Though I haven’t been living in a cave, I only recently heard the term “First Word Problem”. These would really be considered more inconveniences than problems. Slow internet; slow drive-through line; bad calls at the Tee-ball game; Having to choose this month to either pay the iphone bill, the internet bill, or the satellite bill; too much whip cream on my Venti white chocolate peppermint mocha; etc. If we make a big deal about these insignificant things, how could we possibly count any real afflictions as light? Much of our afflictions are nothing more than “First World Problems”.
Paul said in Acts 20:23-24, “Save that the Holy Ghost witnesses in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course (race) with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Though he knew he would endure hardship wherever he went, Paul said none of those things moved him. It didn’t budge him. He just kept moving forward, and he did it with joy, not counting his life as anything. He wasn’t self focused – he was God focused. Glory focused.
If our afflictions are because we are Christians, Jesus said to rejoice and be exceedingly glad (Mt 5:11-12)! How is this possible? By having the right perspective. This life is short. Our life is but a blip on the radar screen of eternity. If we will keep that before our eyes, we’ll live for Jesus and His purposes. We do not have much time – even if we have 100 years. Make your time count for Him in this life.
Let trials make you better, not bitter. Don’t be easily offended; or angered; or depressed; etc. Just let trials make you stronger and better and more Christ-like. Reckon hardships as nothing. Count it all light affliction. Eternity is what is important. The things unseen are greater than the things seen. We will all have trials (1Pt 1:5-9, 4:12-13). Don’t get discouraged.
Zac Poonen said, “The man who has an easy way through life, will be spiritually weak, flabby and impoverished. He won’t be able to do all that God wants him to do. But the one who has gone through trials and testing successfully, will be strong and capable of doing all the will of God.”
Psa 30:5 says, “For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life (a living thing): weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. There may be weeping in the night (our physical lifetime), but joy comes in the morning (eternity). Think of the eternal glory that awaits us as Believers, then count whatever trial you’re going through as a light affliction. If Paul was able to do this, then we can too. Selah.