Even In the Hardest Times
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. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
This summer, my son and I had the opportunity to hike up a trail adjacent to a glacier with the destination being the mountainous snowfield which fed that glacier. It was a longer hike than we realized and at one point, with legs and lungs burning, we recognized we were only about halfway and considered turning back. We’d seen pictures of the destination though and we had faith that it was going to be worth it, so we kept on. It was indeed marvelous and looking back now, I can’t believe we considered giving up. The difficult parts of the hike fade in my memory as the glory of the top remains fresh. It was absolutely worth it, but at the time, in the midst of the grueling climb, I just wanted to quit.
That is what Paul’s encouragement in today’s passage reminds me of. He said that the trials we endure in this life are, in comparison with the glory of eternity, light and momentary. He promised that one day, if we have faith, we will be rewarded with magnificent joy that will make our difficult times of the past seem insignificant.
If Paul were comparing our life trials to a hike in the mountains, we may find him insincere. Paul, however, was a man who knew suffering. He’d been shipwrecked, arrested, persecuted, and beaten for his faith. Yet, he believed that one day, that would all seem petty and inconsequential as he experienced the life and joy that God had in store for him.
That takes tremendous faith, but it’s exactly that kind of faith that helps us endure the hardest times. This is the faith required to ensure that we eventually experience the glory beyond all comparison. Often, we think of faith as simply believing God exists, but faith is believing and then acting upon that belief. My son and I could have believed the glacier and snowfield existed, while remaining down in the valley. We never would have experienced the glory of the top though, if we’d not acted on our belief.
To get to that point where we look back at our trials as insignificant, we must believe that God has a future planned for us. Then, we must live accordingly. In the difficult times, we must go to him, asking, What do you want me to do with this trial? Then, we must do it. It is only through faith that we will eventually find joy and peace, despite those painful circumstances.