Not many want to hear the advice of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 while going through suffering. Most times we just want the pain to go away. However, there are gems to remember NOW for when we do go through troubles. Troubles don’t slay us - they strengthen us and build up our faith to trust God. There is always purpose to our troubles....if we look and seek to learn.
One thing for sure that I’m NOT hearing from these verses is “put on a happy face” or “fake it till you make it.” I don’t believe masking our troubles helps us in the long run, rather I believe in the following that I learned from these verses:
Our troubles are small in comparison to what Jesus did for us on the cross. He bore our sins, sickness, and suffering. When we are faced with troubles remember the suffering of Christ and give thanks. Oh how this takes my eyes of myself and on to the Holy One! I’m reminded of His great love for me even before I was born. Remembering the Cross is humbling and much needed because when faced with trouble it’s usually why me? Me! Me! Me! Remembering Christ keeps me from the pitfalls of pride and selfishness.
Verse 17 says that our troubles will not last very long. It may feel like forever, but it’s not forever. Here I’m reminded to trust the Word and keep in mind that it’s God’s timing and not mine. 2 Peter 3:8 says “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand year, and a thousand years are like a day.” So I don’t know how long is not very long, but I trust in God’s timing.
While I wait for the thousand years to pass (Just kidding I know it won’t be a thousand years) HOW I wait is critical. Do I keep watch over my troubles or do I fix my gaze on the eternal? As believers in Christ our suffering is an opportunity to witness to others. Again, not to fake it, but to declare God’s faithfulness in our times of need. We can talk about our problems or we can declare Who will guide us through our times of trouble. We can speak LIFE. We can speak HOPE. We can speak FAITH. And as we declare WHO God is during these times, we encourage and edify others. This certainly pleases our Father.
Finally the reminder that I love....”For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” Times of suffering are opportunities to rest on on this ultimate hope - there is life after death. That hope takes away the sting of death; the fear of death is no more. Yes, there is pain on this earth but we have a final destination that is pain-free, sin-free, sickness-free! I fix my eyes on my eternal home with God.
Thank You Lord for Your Word that teaches, encourages, and empowers us during this pandemic. We keep our eyes focused on you so we walk in faith, trust and hope.