Our suffering is preparing something…

Sometimes the questions press insistently upon us: “is our suffering meaningless?” “Is there anything that could possibly make up for what I’m experiencing now?”

A little phrase in 2 Corinthians 4:17 has so much to encourage us with: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”.

Notice the verse doesn’t say simply that our suffering is leading to something.  Or just that our suffering will end.  The word is stronger: the affliction is doing something.  It is preparing the weightiness of the glory.

So in some mysterious way, our affliction now will contribute to our enjoyment of our eternal future.  It’s hard to imagine quite what that looks like; it is a mystery to us from our time-bound perspective.  But we live on faith in God’s word here that in some strange way the fruits and the lessons are amassing future joy for us.

They are like payments we make now into a pension pot that we will be eternally drawing on.

Here’s the key thing then: our suffering is never ever ever meaningless. Though it feels that way.  God is doing something.  One day that will be revealed.

I stumbled across these truths in this wonderfully encouraging talk called: The Glory of God in the sight of eternity.  By John Piper from 2013.

You can download the transcript but listening to the audio or watching the video is even better.

Listen or watch it here.  You’ll need to set aside about an hour (or do it in 15 minute bursts in the car) but make sure you get all of the way to the last few minutes on John the Baptist.

Here’s a stunning song too with the sermon woven in here.

Irreparable Loss

Came across this really helpful comment on Psalm 131 and the hymn ‘Be still my soul’ (Katrarina Von Schlegel) in ‘Seeing with New Eyes’ by David Powlison (p.83).

“Perhaps irreparable loss is the hardest thing to face.  A loved one dies, and will never again walk through the door to greet you.  You retire, and can never again return to the work into which you poured your talent, time and concern.  You will never again be young. No second chance to do your college years or that failed marriage over again.  Such things devastate us.  Can you quiet yourself? Jesus gives you himself.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Katarina Von Schlegel was the ultimate realist.  Most of the noise in our souls is generated by our attempts to control the uncontrollable.  We grasp after the wind. We rage, fear and finally despair.  But this wise sister focused on an enduring hope. Be still my soul.  All that is hard now will be forgotten amid love’s purest joys. This slight, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.  (2 Cor 4:17)”