Right now is a really hard time for many people I know: Job changes, death, hurricanes, immigration problems, just to name a few. 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.
God is not denying or minimizing what we feel like when the traumas of life hit us. When the phrase “light affliction” is used, the word “light” has two meanings in the Greek. The older meaning of the Greek word translated “light” doesn’t seem to have much to do with how we interpret “light” these days. But in the Greek language, which the English was translated from, the meaning of this word is very significant and can’t be ignored. Light is a powerful force.
It means the “affliction” is being driven like the wind. We’ve all seen the devastation a mighty wind can cause: uprooting the strongest trees, tearing up houses, demolishing property, knocking out the electrical power and so many other horrific things. The word “light” also means the strength of oars pushing in the water. If you’ve ever watched the Olympic rowing teams, you know how powerful those oars cut through the water.
“Light” also refers to the aggression of demons. We’ve all been exposed to demonic entities and have seen how powerfully they push people to do things that are destructive. The demons themselves are destructive, mean, full of strife and inciting fear and so many other ungodly things. So when we read this verse about “light affliction,” we need to think about light as being a strong manipulative force. The Lord is telling us that He totally understands that the afflictions that happen to us are terrible 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. We are strong enough to deal with them and still live in victory.
The Lord has given us the means to endure.
Hebrews 12: 1-2 says: “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.”
We are never alone in our suffering or what we must endure. Even though it may seem like the end, we can make it through. The Lord will help us.
So let’s do our best to stay faithful to Him, even in afflictions. Our reward is everlasting.