This is currently hanging on our fridge. It was a handlettering page that my daughter traced over. It’s of 2 Corinthians 4:17 – a verse that I actually used to be bothered by.
“For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.”
As in, I was annoyed by the sentiment. Rolled my eyes at what I thought of as the flippancy of the first part of it. “Momentary, light affliction?”
Of course it doesn’t bother Him, He’s GOD! is what I would think. From our human perspective, those “light afflictions” sure seem heavy, don’t they? I mean, something as meaningless as the Cubs losing in the eighth can bring about a feeling of discouragement. But still, even in the midst of my intense Cubs’ fandom, I can still see that the Cubs losing is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things and could be considered “light.” Okay, fine.
But what about permanent disability? I interviewed my brother this week on my podcast (you can listen HERE) about the fact that he has been legally blind since birth. Something that is a lifetime of hurt doesn’t seem so momentary anymore, does it? What about sickness, or anxiety, or hospital visits?
What about the pain that comes from other people hurting us physically, emotionally or spiritually? You did not ask to be harmed. You did not welcome it and had nothing to do with it. But the pain in the aftermath of that lasts.
Dealing with money, things breaking down, relationship struggles… all part of our dealing with a sinful world.
What about death? Losing someone we love implants a heavy grief that lingers and stays with us. Momentary? Light??
Paul is the one writing these verses, and he is discussing a current situation in his life as he writes to the people in Corinth, but in other places in Scripture, Paul himself cried out to God with his pain through various experiences in his life, asking God to remove it from him and saying it would be much better for him to die… because he understood that to be with God would be the ultimate answer.
So, recently my daughter handlettered the verse. And put it on our fridge. And I read it multiple times a day. And admittedly, at first, I wanted to take it down because for some reason once again, it bothered my human-centric self somehow. But something made me keep it up there. To read. To think about. To meditate on.
Having given birth to three kids means I have experienced pain (and yes, that pain was LEGIT. It was real.). It was temporary. Then I held my babies. And the joy was intense as we welcomed in our new little ones. That did not negate the fact that there was pain. The pain was not forgotten. In fact, one of my kids likes to ask about the pain of having him, and I always make it super dramatic to get a response from him. So it’s not like I forgot it at all! What it did was make that pain worthwhile. It redeemed the pain. I say to him, “But I got you! It was worth it!” I think he loves hearing that.
And I’m finally able to see that the affliction is not at all being downplayed in this verse. It’s still just as big, just as overwhelming, just as full-of-pain. But get this, THAT pain?
It’s just that the incomparable weight of HIS glory is so big next to it.
Weight of glory
Incomparable – without an equal in quality or extent; matchless.
That doesn’t minimize the pain at all. In a sense, it “honors” the pain and how heavy it is. BUT in comparison, the eternal glory we will experience will redeem the pain.
If we jump back a verse to verse 16, the first phrase is “So we do not lose heart.” The cause is that this weight of glory is incomparable. The effect is that we do not lose heart. We keep our minds on that which is eternal. We live knowing God is a God of redemption and through all our experiences here in an earthly realm, we are being sanctified and made to be more like Him.
And yes, the verse is still up. I figure I should keep it up for the Cubs’ postseason anyway…