“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” -2 Corinthians 4:17
When we experience pain in this life, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, it is easy to assume the pain will always be there. Sometimes our minds are so preoccupied by our grief, they will not allow us to zoom out and look at our situation from an eternal point of view. When faced with a cancer diagnosis, or with a spouse that has given up on the marriage, it could seem ridiculous to try and look at the conflict in the long term. Yet, one way God soothes our pain is by pointing us toward eternity. In our last entry, we saw that Jesus is able to meet us in our pain because he is so gentle. Remember gentleness is not weakness. It is the application of strength to a tender situation. When you feel overwhelmed by pain, you can turn to Jesus. The Bible gives us another reason why Jesus is able to soothe our pain; he is leading us to something greater.
Paul describes this phenomenon beautifully. He compares our reality of pain to “wasting away” outwardly. Yet he reminds us there is another reality at play.
Therefore we do not lose 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, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Our pain is temporary. Our life with God is forever. It reminds me of the glorious hymn of old:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
We can take heart, as followers of Jesus, knowing he is still King of kings and Lord of lords. He is still the God of the universe. He still holds the world, and your very life, in the palm of his hand. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Turn to him. The prophet Isaiah put it like this:
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine, the best of meats and finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” -Isaiah 25:6-9
Our pain is real. Our tears are real. When we feel them, Jesus is with us feeling the same pain. Yet he is drawing us to something greater. He is drawing us to a future without pain, with no more tears. Take your pain to Jesus, and set your eyes firmly on the destination of your faith; eternal life with Him.