For a reason…

2 Corinthians 4:17 (King James Version)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

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3 thoughts on “For a reason…

  1. For the smug, fat, and happy Christians among the church goers in Corinth, Paul’s model of suffering for righteousness sake may have formed a kind of rebuke, for Paul was following in the footsteps of the Master. For the poor and discouraged in the church, Paul’s words may have formed a kind of encouragement.

    Of course, Paul’s comparison in 2 Cor 4:17 is true as those who believe Paul’s words are inspired know. Yet such words may also produce resentment. A healthy, wealthy Christian may throw 2 Cor. 4:17 at some suffering brother or sister as an encouragement, but it may be received more as callous disregard, as failing to weep with those who weep, as demeaning: You are not suffering; buck up and shut up.

    My father has suffered the effects of Lyme’s disease for fifty years, often intensely. A friend has fibromyalgia, arthritis, Lyme’s disease, and I forget what else. Doctors tell her her condition is getting worse and there is nothing she can do for it. She seldom can sleep much. I remember some writer in the Liberation Theology field bitterly complaining that the suffering of Jesus was dwarfed by the suffering of the poor in his native country and around the world. (Need I say the writer did not believe something of who Jesus was and what He suffered.)

    Suffering may not last forever, but sometimes it is so overwhelming that the present feels like forever. Overwhelming and sometimes meaningless: “Why was my toddler accidentally crushed by the wheels of a truck” (as in one case)?

    Of course, there is a time and place for rebuking self pity. The trick seems to be both to sympathize and to raise the level of expectation. As we enter a period of greater suffering globally (or at least I believe we will for a time), 2 Cor. 4 may become more real to many Christians. I pray as an encouragement to faith and perseverance.

    Though days are long, life is short. Heaven awaits around the bend.

    1. I think the issue many Christians have with this, rich or poor, healthy or not, are that they see our journey as temporal when in fact it is infinite. Truth is a difficult pill to swallow at times. This especially holds true when we so adamantly defend certain beliefs. The fact of the matter is that our time here is temporary and our ascension is infinite, so what we may see as forever here is really just a drop in the bucket in the spiritual realm of our existence.
      Many do not have the advantages I have had, although all equally capable, of seeing this next level in our existence. Being the case it is very easy for me to believe where as those who have not experienced the transition must rely totally on their strength of faith. I have experienced souls’ ascension and have shared the joy of those who have become 100% spiritual energy. It is a wonderful experience to behold the strength of one who was ill here. The joy of their new found capabilities is astonishing.
      I know I will take a big hit for saying this due to dogmatic reasoning, but we do have many of these temporal physical lives, yet only one infinite spiritual existence. This is why I understand perfectly how we must go through these trials and tribulations. It is all part of a growth process. Sometimes bad things happen for the sake of helping others to grow. Sad things like an innocent death of a child are really hard to take, but I chose to believe that it is somehow all part of His plan.

  2. Last night as I wrote my comment (above), I was aware that the direction I was going touches on a number of issues, some rather thorny, and that I am not even aware of all of the impinging intellectual wrinkles and belief constructs. So I am not sure, for example, what you mean by “we do have many of these temporal physical lives, yet only one infinite spiritual existence.”

    Be that as it may, I agree that all history (and eternity) “is somehow all part of His plan.” For one thing, I think there are sufficient texts in the Bible for someone who believes Jesus to be the Messiah to draw this conclusion (e.g., Eph. 1:11, Romans 11:36, Rev. 13:8). But I cannot go into that large subject more at present.

    Given the belief “all part of His plan,” however, there are still emotionally jarring and upsetting circumstances among “our light affliction, which is but for a moment” that can and does throw our beliefs into question. Not all suffering is clearly “for righteousness sake” or for the gospel.

    Some has been incomprehensible to us. For many centuries it has thus often been, for example, the moans of Job and the complaints of the psalmist that has served to strengthen our foresight of faith in the very tangible face of evil and suffering.

    As Satan sifts us like wheat, it is often the kindness of God in this life that leads us to repentance. This, too, is “all part of His plan.” At least for His vessels of mercy, to the praise of the glory of His grace.

    And like Paul, too, I agree that some have rejoiced in their suffering, not as masochists, but knowing the end results of perseverance, character, and hope. Certainly Paul’s example has served as a buttress.

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