For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
— 2 CORINTHIANS 4:17–18
A former pastor of mine, when facing surgery, made this telling remark: “You can call it major surgery or minor, but if it’s on me, it’s major!” While we chuckle at this, there is quite a bit of truth here. Things feel quite different when they are happening to us.
The interesting thing is that the Apostle Paul says exactly the opposite when recounting his trials. Paul lists various trials and persecutions and then has the audacity to refer to them as “light and momentary troubles.” The word light in the Greek actually means that it is “easy to bear.” The word momentary means “for the moment.” Paul is saying that the problems we think are major, in the eternal scheme of things, are actually minor.
How can this be? Our problems are minor in comparison to the major impact they are having in the eternal realm. Each trial that you and I face, as we keep putting our trust in the Lord, is actually an investment into a currency that does not depreciate: “eternal weight of glory.”
While the pain on this end feels insurmountable and even causes us to question our faith, that very struggle is planting seeds of glory in an eternal Kingdom. While our natural inclination is to focus on how major it is, shifting our perspective lessens the pain and helps us rise above it. When suffering enters our lives, the question we really want answered is, “Why? Was it for nothing?” Paul is saying here that through eternal lenses, there is no such thing as a wasted trial. They are all achieving an eternal weight of glory.
1. Is there a major trial I am facing right now? Instead of rehearsing the “why” question or the “when will it end” question, ask the Spirit of God show you how he might be using this to benefit you eternally.
2. When standing with another in their struggle, ask the Lord to allow them to see what he is up to. Don’t tell them that their trial is “light and momentary,” but ask God to lend them his wide-angle lenses.
Kathy Klassen was raised in Ethiopia as a daughter of missionaries. She now serves at First Alliance Church in Scarborough, ON and ministers to people in the Spirit’s power to encourage an abundant life in Jesus.