Highlighted Text: 2 Cor. 4:16
Full Text: Job 34; 2 Cor. 4

Affliction | Paul constantly lived in the way of suffering. He once summarized his afflictions:

“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at the sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” [1].

Relative | Yet he characterized his afflictions as “light and momentary” [2]. Paul endured suffering in order to accomplish the two great aims of his life – to glorify God and to serve others: “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you” [3]. Thus, his trials were “light” – not because they were easy – but because they were nothing compared to the weight of glory that he anticipated [4]. They were “momentary” – not because they lasted only a minute – but because they were nothing compared to the ages of eternity that he expected [5]. In financial terms, Paul was a long-term investor, looking past near-term losses for long-term gain [6]:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. [7]

Prayer | Lord, We long to glorify Jesus and serve others. Yet when our pursuit of holiness leads to affliction and trial, help us not to lose heart – as we set our faces to eternity. Make us long-term investors in your kingdom, reckoning our afflictions as “light and momentary” compared to the eternal weight of glory in which we hope. Amen.



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[1] 2 Cor. 11:24-28 ESV  |  [2] 2 Cor. 4:17 NIV1984  |  [3] 2 Cor. 4:11-12 ESV  |  [4] Rom. 8:18 ESV (“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”)  |  [5] Even if his suffering lasted an entire lifetime, what is a lifetime compared to eternity?  |  [6] Thank you, Brendan S., for helping me with this phrase!  |  [7] 2 Cor. 4:16-18 ESV