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. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
These are the words of a man who suffered imprisonments, floggings, beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, hunger, thirst, and countless sleepless nights for the cause of Christ. Oh, and I forgot, he suffered from that thorn in the flesh for which he begged God to deliver him. And yet he has a hope for which he can be thankful. What is seen in the present is not permanent. What is unseen, that which lies ahead is eternal and ever so good.
Thank God for a body that we can one day shed, like the skin of a snake, for something so much better! A body like to that of our risen Lord’s! And there is a payment scheme that rewards us exponentially and disproportionately greater for anything we suffer for Christ’s sake in this world now.
Do you know, that the difficulties of life are best handled by those who have the hope of a better tomorrow? Both Lynn and I saw how the hope of a better future in God’s presence transformed the terminal illnesses of her late husband Dan and my late wife Eileen into lives that burned brightly for Jesus in their final days. No fear in death. Boldness in praise of the One whom they knew was waiting in Heaven for them. For the believer in Jesus, we know that the suffering we endure now, no matter what it is, will not last forever. I like Paul’s words in Romans chapter 8,
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 NIV84
One day, no more suffering, no more pain! One day we shall be liberated into the glorious freedom of the children of God, and in the meantime, the Holy Spirit indwells us to remind us of the fact that liberation from suffering and the day of the redemption of the body, is sure and certain. Praise God! We have a hope for which to be thankful at all times and in every situation.