Some days things don’t look good. All I have to do is listen to the news to know that. Bad news at every turn. That is the way of the world.
God has a goal that has nothing to do with that bad news. We don’t lose heart when we are listening to Him. It doesn’t matter what is going on around us. Trouble brings His mighty and awesome outcomes.
We see a reality, in Him, that others don’t know exists. We have our gaze fixed on Him. Today’s trouble is no comparison to His love which goes on like Him, forever.
There is no end to it. Like the “energizer bunny” but only real. We are fixed on what is not seen, the eternal God and our Father. We are fixed on God’s Goal.
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, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 TNIV Bible
“We faint not” (see 2 Cor. 4:1) was Paul’s confident testimony. What does it matter if the “outward person” is perishing, so long as the “inward person” is experiencing daily spiritual renewal? Paul was not suggesting that the body is not important, or that we should ignore its warnings and needs. Since our bodies are the temples of God, we must care for them; but we cannot control the natural deterioration of human nature. When we consider all the physical trials that Paul endured, it is no wonder he wrote as he did.
As disciples of Jesus, we must live a day at a time. No person, no matter how wealthy or gifted, can live two days at a time. God provides for us “day by day” as we pray to Him. He gives us the strength that we need according to our daily requirements. We must not make the mistake of trying to “store up grace” for future emergencies, because God gives us the grace that we need when we need it. When we learn to live a day at a time, confident of God’s care, it takes a great deal of pressure off of our lives.
When you live by faith in the Messiah, you get the right perspective on suffering. Note the contrasts Paul presented in 2 Corinthians 4:17: light affliction—weight of glory; momentary—eternal; working against us—working for us. Paul was writing with eternity’s values in view. He was weighing the present trials against the future glory, and he discovered that his trials were actually working for him.
We must not misunderstand this principle and think that a disciple of Jesus can live any way he pleases and expect everything to turn into glory in the end. Paul was writing about trials experienced in the will of God as he was doing the work of God. God can and does turn suffering into glory, but He cannot turn sin into glory. Sin must be judged, because there is no glory in sin.
Suffering will not make us holier men and women. Unless we yield to the Master Jesus, turn to His Word, and trust Him to work, our suffering could make us far worse disciples We need that “spirit of faith” that Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4:13.