“This affliction is light and momentary.”
How do you say that to a young wife who just traumatically lost her husband? To a woman suffering through infertility? To the children who lost their father? Or to the man with a deadly diagnosis?
Afflictions like these don’t feel momentary. No. Instead, such trials make their mark on our lives. People are forever changed by suffering like this. While many around them will carry on, those who suffer great loss will sometimes bear questions, scars, and grief for as long as they live.
And yet, this statement must be true since it’s found in God’s Word:
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. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
We Groan and Grieve…
We don’t feel like our affliction is momentary. And this is where we fail in our human capacity to understand just how beautiful and long-lasting eternity will be for those who have believed in Jesus Christ. Every monstrous tear will be wiped away, every pain healed, and we will be with Jesus, the Comforter of our soul, forevermore.
We cannot fathom such a relief because we are here, surrounded by heartbreak and destruction on every side. Our loved ones die, mass shootings increase, chronic illness persists, unborn babies are murdered, and cancer destroys. Even worse, the sin found within our own bones haunts us. The ghost of our past, that is, our flesh, continues to shame us for previous sins while seeking to tempt us anew.
And with the burden of this weighty pain upon our hearts, we’re groaning with all creation: “Come soon, Lord. Come soon.”
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)
1. With Hope
Yes, we groan and grieve. But we groan and grieve with hope.
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:24-26)
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Do you grieve as if your hope is lost? When everything crumbles around you, upon what (or who, rather) do you stand? If you see beneath your feet anything other than Jesus Christ, you will not survive the chaos of this life. Momentary afflictions will drag your soul down to the depths of despair.
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SOURCE: Crosswalk, Brittany Allen