Our Afflictions Work for Us

There will always be times and seasons of afflictions as we live for the Lord. After a season of blessings, when afflictions come, we often feel as though the Lord has forgotten us, or maybe we wonder if we are out of the will of God.

We can find comfort and instruction when we read in the Word of God the many afflictions the apostle Paul went through. In II Corinthians 4:8, he says, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed". How could Paul continue on when he was troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down?

As we read further in II Corinthians chapter four, the final two verses give us an understanding of how Paul was able to deal with such adversity and affliction. Paul says, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:17-18). 

Paul had come to understand that, in the scheme of eternity, the afflictions that we go through are only momentary. At the time when they are occurring, they can seem great, but in reality they only last for a moment in time. Paul had also come to realize that the reward for enduring affliction was far greater: "...worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

By looking at eternal things, Paul came to realize that our afflictions work for us and not against us. Paul realized the presence of the Lord and His glory would far exceed any affliction that we would go through in this life. Once we can look beyond the moment to the unseen Lord and His glory, we see that our afflictions are actually working for us to give us a far greater and exceeding weight of glory.