“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
Paul listed his “light and momentary troubles” as being hard-pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. Later he mentions being whipped, stoned, shipwrecked and being cold, naked and without food (2 Corinthians 11:22-33). Yet these troubles are light and momentary because Paul looks at them in the light of eternity and reflects on the long term purposes of God. He was focussed on the big picture.
Recently I watched the movie Cast Away. At the start of the movie, the main character Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), is a workaholic who is obsessed with time.
After being shipwrecked and living for four years on a desert island he returns to civilization a different person with a more realistic perspective on life. The thought occurred to me isn’t that what God does to us? He puts us in situations that we don’t ask for or want in order that we grow. And if that means sitting on a desert island for four years then so be it. The eternal glory far outweighs the present inconveniences. We struggle to understand a God who operates like that, since our focus is usually on the here and now.
In the book, Hind’s Feet on High Places, God’s love is described as “beautiful but it is also terrible – terrible in its determination to allow nothing blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved.”
We remember the big picture. God loves us and always acts with our best interests at heart. With an enlarged picture of God and his purposes we can trust that when we run into difficulties he is using them to make us more like Christ and achieving for us “an eternal glory.”