This past Sunday night I did a lecture at church concerning the issue of evil, pain, and suffering in the world. The fact that these things exist in our world, is one of the main arguments against the existence of God, especially a good loving God that we as Christians claim to follow. During my study on this topic, primarily on what the Christian is supposed to do when suffering occurs in the life of the individual, 2 Corinthians 4 came to my attention. Particularly the last few verses of the chapter.
“Therefore we do not lost heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 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. For what is seen is temporary, but on what is unseen is eternal.”
-2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This passage of scripture blew me away. In order to understand how bizarre and unbelievable what the apostle Paul is saying here, you have to understand the situation and culture in which he was writing too. In the early church, persecution was a normal thing. To pronounce you were a Christian meant physical abuse, and potentially death. Paul knew the church of Corinth was going under persecution, because he was under it himself, but Paul who saw things from such a Kingdom perspective, realizes that whatever troubles he faces in his ministry, or suffering he incurs, they are “light and momentary”. Paul states that even if your life is at risk, even if you lose it, it is insignificant compared to eternity.
So many times we limit ourselves to our own momentary perspective. We fail to see the big picture. Everyone has their cross to bear, everyone will encounter suffering. In fact Jesus promises this in John 16:33 when he said “In this world you will have trouble.” Suffering is an inevitable part of being a follower of Christ. In fact if you have never suffered, then there might be a problem. However when we look at things from God’s perspective, then we realize how trivial these present pains are, because we are gaining an “eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” So if you are suffering for the cause of Christ, please do not lose heart. Fix your eyes on the unseen, the eternal, and as Jesus said even though we face trouble in this world we should be encouraged for He has “overcome the world.”(John 16:33)