enduring hardship

David grew up in a good Christian family. But now that he’s older he says he doesn’t believe in God anymore. This was devastating news to David’s family. But if we’re honest we’ve probably all come dangerously close to wanting to give up on faith at times.

Traumatic events still take place in our lives. We thought since we’re born again things should be going better for us. But sometimes they just don’t. The truth is faithfulness isn’t something for the weak-hearted. It takes some real inner strength to stay faithful and our faithfulness gets tested over and over throughout our lives. Faithfulness isn’t that easy sometimes, but is it worth it? For sure!

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God rewards faith:  “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

In the big picture of things, our lives are really short here on earth compared with our eternity. “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more” (Ps 103:15).

Though life may seem unbearable at times, God promises that “there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).

In Old Testament terms, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Ps 30:5). You say, “That’s the longest night ever!” But God does promise joy in the morning. And God “is not a man that he should lie” (Num 23:19).

In New Testament terms, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor 4:17). I looked up the word “affliction” in the Greek. It is a thronging, crowding pressure. It’s narrow, burdened with anguish, persecution and trouble. It comes from a root word meaning a rut or worn track. And isn’t that how the attacks come sometimes? We get in a rut of affliction, the same things over and over.

The great severity of the afflictions are not being denied or minimized by the use of the phrase “light affliction.” In fact the word “light” has two meanings in the Greek. The older meaning is that the affliction is being pushed, like the wind pushes or oars push in the water or how demonic powers push. We are all aware of what mighty winds can do to even the strongest of palm trees or buildings. If you’ve ever watched the Olympic rowing teams, you know how powerful those oars cut through the water. And if you’ve ever been exposed to demonic powers and really have seen them in action, well, it’s no small matter.

So this verse tells us that the Lord totally understands that the afflictions that happen to us are rough and hard to bear up against.

But the second meaning of the word “light” is just as we suspected. Compared to the abundant, perpetual honor, praise, glory and dignity we will have for eternity, the afflictions we have in this life can be dealt with.

In the Amplified Version : “For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!”

The Lord has given us the means to endure.

Hebrews 12: 1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” He will help us. So let’s do our best to stay faithful even in afflictions.

Love, Carolyn

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