For our momentary light affliction. 2 Corinthians 4:17
THIS is light? When one hears the word LIGHT, one thinks of something that even a two-year old can carry. Or a slice of cake so thin that you could see light shining through it. So, to equate my present suffering with light has been a massive struggle for me these past three weeks.
Momentary. Short term. Not forever. It's a cinch. Over in a few. Days, weeks. Maybe even months. But definitely not the years category.
How could Paul write these words? How can I say these words and find comfort?
I have a problem. Pain. Suffering. And more than I could imagine it would be in this stage of the injury. My affliction is more painful now than it ever has been. And I am supposed to be on the healing side of things. How did I get here? How can I get my eyes off of my feet and onto Jesus? How can I look at this time as light and momentary?
The word affliction is a rich word and full of meaning. To me, when I hear the word affliction, I stand up a little taller and lean in, because one who has an affliction usually has been somewhere with Jesus. And I want to know all about it. I have looked this word up so many times in my concordance, but I looked it up again – thlipsis in Greek. A noun. Definition: A pressing, pressing together, pressure. Tribulation, trouble, anguish, persecution, burdened. So rich in meaning. Not that these words represent rainbows and lollipops, they don’t. But, they offer us a word picture that you could sink your teeth into.
Pressing together. Like a vice. A continual twisting or pressing together. Continuous. Taking two objects that are distinctly different from each other, and making them one.
In writing that out I had an epiphany. Two separate objects. Me. Jesus. Pressed together to become one. As in, more and more like Jesus so one cannot tell where I end and He begins. Folks, this is it. I might as well stop writing. This is the fullest reason for our light and momentary affliction. We are pressed together with Jesus so it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
...Is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 2 Corinthians 4:17
MY affliction is producing all of that? Another way of looking at affliction is of pressing down – like in an apple press. The purpose is to extract the juice to make an incredible cider. Or an olive oil press. The fruit is pressed so the desirable contents of the fruit is released. And what is interesting, it is pressed without including the fruit. The flesh/fruit is left behind, spent. Just like us. We are pressed, and an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory is what flows from us. What flows from us is Jesus. And self is left behind. As it should be.
My affliction, of which is momentary – short-lived, and light, produces a oneness with the King of Kings and His glory is revealed. Then, I have to say in light of all this….bring it on. Mind you, this is not easy at all in the midst of suffering. But, when looked at in light of Scripture, especially these verses, I have got to allow God to have His way.
So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
Yes. Yes. Yes. This life is not about the here and now, it is about there and eternity. My enemy wants me to focus on my very real pain that is happening now, when Jesus wants me to look up to Him and focus on eternity, and my life with Him. All things that we see will pass away. They will not last forever, but that which I have in Christ will.
How in the world does one move beyond the very real affliction in the every day? By keeping these verses in mind, number one. And I believe that we are to be asking for eyes to see beyond the temporary. In this world we will have trouble (John 16:33), Jesus said so Himself, so we should expect it. It could come in the form of affliction, pain, illness, unemployment, broken relationships, and more. We will have it. But -
Take heart, Jesus has overcome the world. John 16:33
We have victory in Jesus and He has already overcome this. And knowing that this affliction is temporary, and it is making me pressed into Jesus so there is no gap between Him and me, plus it gives glory to God - it is meant to be. That is eternal thinking. It focuses my eyes on Jesus and not on my feet. I want to think about my feet all the time because frankly, they scream at me all the time. But, God wants me to focus on Him, because I am in Christ, and in Him, we are bringing God glory even in the affliction. I would venture to say, in affliction, we give Him massive glory by NOT being short-sighted. Being short-sighted allows one to quit. Hang up the towel. Take my ball and go home. Being heaven-minded, allows me to give God glory in all circumstances and to let Him have His will done in my life.
He is wanting me to be more like His Son. How did I ever think that affliction was more about me and my comfort, when it is really all about eternity and bringing Him glory? I think I finally get it God.