So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 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 4:16-18
Our pastor is teaching through Romans, and this week we were in Romans 4. What really stood out to me was verse 21: “…and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform…” I had to ask myself if I am fully convinced that what He has promised He is able to perform, in my own life. But first, I needed to sort out exactly what His promises are. There are so many, I could probably never list them all without pretty much copying down the whole Bible! So, I thought I would narrow it down to just one promise, and meditate on its truth. The one I chose is up at the top of this blog post, and I think it is my very favorite promise of all. If you suffer with physical pain or disability, you may agree with me.
So, what is so special about this particular promise? First, it acknowledges the truth that when we suffer, we are tempted to lose heart. It is comforting to me that God knew that suffering and trials would be wearisome for us. After all, He knows our weaknesses (Psalm 103:14), and understands that we do tend to grow weary. He immediately follows up this fact though, with the truth that our inner self is being renewed! The best news here is that it is He who is renewing it! God does all things well, and there is no better renewal we can experience than the inward renewal of our mind and spirit that is promised here. While I may feel old and tired, the unseen truth is that my spirit is as youthful, vital, and vigorous as He can make it, as long as I am submitted to His will and determined to bring Him glory in my pain.
Is my affliction light and momentary? Most days it doesn't seem so, but God’s Word is always true, and that is what He is saying. How do I reconcile my pain and struggle with this fact? Well, if I read on, I find the answer. I have an eternal weight of glory ahead of me! As I look forward to this, my pain and suffering seem less overwhelming. My desire to bring more glory to God dwarfs my desire for relief in this life. I can’t even imagine the perfection of my glorified body. There’s no comparison to anything on earth that could even give me an idea of the wonder of my eternity!
All of God’s promises are Yes and Amen in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). If His glory is my goal, then I know that He will keep renewing my spirit, so that I will not lose heart. Though I may have days when pain is increased and my activity is limited, I can always know that through Christ, I don’t have to become discouraged. As I focus not on things that I can see or feel, but on those unseen realities of eternity, I can be joyful and happy in my heart, because I know that God is able to do all that He promises.
It is hard when we hurt, and we long to be able to do the things we want to do. “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere (2 Corinthians 2:14).” Hallelujah! What a Savior!