I have Bible verses I don’t like. I know I’m probably not supposed to admit that, but it’s true. There are some verses in the Bible that I just get mad at God for including. That’s not to say I don’t believe them, mind you. The entirety of God’s Word is active, alive, inspired, and for our good. I know that. But, man, some of the things God says are hard pills to swallow.
One of the verses in Scripture that trips me up time and again is 2 Corinthians 4:17. It states, “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory” (CSB). I’ve never liked the fact that God tells us that our struggles are “momentary and light.” Sometimes, I start having these internal monologues with myself, like, God, if you only knew what I’ve gone through, you wouldn’t call it light.
Have you ever felt that way?
I remember when my sister had double kidney failure and almost died. I was in college at the time, and I could barely function. How could I focus on classes when my sister was fighting for her life in a hospital bed? That didn’t feel like a light and momentary trouble. Around that same time, some of my closest friendships fell apart. I felt alone, helpless, and unloved.
I remember sitting in chapel and listening to a sermon around that time about 2 Corinthians 4:17, and I almost wanted to scream at the speaker. How dare they tell me that what I was going through was momentary? Whenever we go through the trials of life — be it sickness, familial strife, relational heartache, the loss of a job, you name it — it feels like the greatest weight in the world. At that moment, I felt like I was being told that the pains in my life didn’t mean anything.
Some of us have walked through hell. Our bodies are failing us. Some of us have lost loved ones. We’ve been wounded by people in our inner circles. Our mental health is struggling. The pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Many of us have had our hearts metaphorically ripped out and now we’re forced to keep going through each day with open holes in our chests. None of what we’re going through is light. Pain is paralyzing. Heartache and grief can ruin us.
What I’m learning, however, is that God doesn’t scoff at my pain. In fact, as I’ve gotten older and experienced more hardships, I’ve realized that 2 Corinthians 4:17 isn’t about minimizing our sufferings at all.
God isn’t telling me that my struggles don’t matter. He’s giving me a promise that one day my pain will end. In fact, He’s telling us that even the worst imaginable suffering on earth will be nothing compared to the “eternal weight of glory.”
2 Corinthians 4:17 is about perspective. When we experience unimaginable grief, our Abba Father lifts our chin so that we can look up, not out. He whispers in our ear, “Persevere, my child. I’m here. Something better is coming.” In fact, the following verse drives this home: “So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). We must endure grief and hardship with eternity in our sight. When life feels stifled in the crippling hands of suffering, our hearts and minds must never lose hope. Our lives are not meaningless, and God is still faithful.
Beloved, I know this might not mean much now, but know this: everything in life is temporary, including our pain. God won’t always take away our pain, but He does promise to be our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). We can’t quit. We must persevere, because God is guiding us into a glorious future where no tear will ever be shed again. Rest in that promise. This world is not our final home. A day is coming when joy will be ours and no one and nothing can ever take it away again.
Nothing we have experienced or will experience can imagine the horrible pain Christ endured for us on the Cross. My heart breaks when I think about that kind of love for you & me so no matter what pain I am going through is nothing in comparison! Yes, I have been in pain and suffering as I had breast cancer and now have bone cancer and the treatments that go with that; but my strength comes from Almighty God being with me daily.
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Thank you so much for your post today. Your words touched my aching heart. I’m going through something with my health that has me in physical and emotional pain. “…Abba Father lifts our chin to look up not out.” Helps me today. Thank you for sharing your faith and your heart❤️
The past couple of years have been crippling for me. Your post touched me in a way that I can’t even fully explain, except to say that I feel lighter somehow. Thank you Michelle!
Thank you, Michelle, this is beautiful and powerful.
Thank you for sharing! It really touched me.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Michelle thank you for this post. It is excellent. You said there are scriptures you don’t like. But God word is there to help us. I also read Our Daily Bread you may abs may not have heard it. Last week I think it was there was a post about a lady that is in Glory called Annie Johnson Flint. She was adopted by a Family after her parents died at young age. Annie wrote some beautiful poems in her life time before going to Glory. She was saved. One day started to take arthritis. It got so bad she was in wheelchair. Here friend as I looked up all about her on line. Here friends told her to trust God’s word for her healing she looked up his word and believed it. But was still not healed with her Arthritis. So this is the bit that humbled me in what Annie said. God might not heal of my bad Arthritis that has me in a wheelchair. But God is still there and he gives me the grace to cope with the pain of it every day. That is so true for us. Even when we read God’s words and some verses we don’t like. God is still there to help us know his word is true for us even the bits we don’t like. To help us through all we go through in life no matter what it is. Give us the Grace to cope. Like he did with Annie Johnson Flint Arthritis. I say Annie Johnson Flint could have been annoyed that God didn’t heal her of it this side of earth. But she took it on her as the saying goes and said God gives me the strength to be able to cope with the pain and still know he there. Yes it the same with his word even the verses we don’t like. I say Amen to that. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little in my prayers all you incourage. Xx
Janet Williams says
Linda Shukri says
I totally totally totally understand everything you said! It’s a struggle for me to put it into practice, though. For a number of years, a lot of years, I have had daily pain with neuropathy and arthritis. PLUS, for the past several years (and more years before I realized what was really going on), I’ve been dealing with a husband who has dementia. It’s more than memory loss. It’s obsessive-compulsive behavior, frustration and anger stuff as well, and my emotional and mental issues dealing with a marriage relationship. Unless he repeats himself too much, his issues don’t show up to others. He does work part-time, and he drives a car so he’s able to do things still. And no one sees the real issues I deal with when we’re by ourselves. The simple conversations that can go awry. It’s asking God, why me? Why me who is very sensitive, who’s struggled her whole life dealing with difficult people and situations, growing up a Christian, attending a great church that taught the scriptures, but not equipped to handle life or even ready to go to college (only one year of nursing) at 18 years of age. Not ready for anything, even marriage at 20. The big struggle is the combination of my health/pain issues and dealing with my husband’s issues at the same time.
If it were temporary as in weeks or months, I could possibly handle my situation better, but it’s not that kind of temporary, even though I know what the future holds, it still doesn’t take away my depression or end my tears.
Thank you, though, for writing about this subject. Even though I know other people go through tough situations, it helps to actually hear someone say/write about it.
Jennifer Haynie says
Thank you for this perspective. Much needed after today.
Beautifully written, Michelle. And so we persevere and pray through, trusting in the promises of God. May we all overflow with hope in Him during difficult times, as we know God’s words are true.
Beth Williams says
Michelle, God never said we wouldn’t have trials & tribulations down here. When they come He is there seeing us through to the other side. David understood this & wrote hope in Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. God will comfort you & give you hope.