“For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all. ”
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
“…and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35:10 (NIV)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was undoubtedly one of England’s greatest writers. Every high school that uses the English language has the students read one or more of this great man’s works. Some of our clichés in modern English language come from him. The title of our devotional today is the title of what many think was Shakespeare’s most brilliant comedy. It is/was used in modern language to describe a situation where people made a great fuss about a trivial matter.
When believers get to glory I am persuaded that many of us will reflect on what concerned us so much in this life. We will shake our heads in amazement that we fussed about such a trivial matter as compared to the indescribable riches of glory that will be our’s forever. Some will exclaim with Paul Romans 8:18 (NIV)
“I consider that our present sufferings
are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Paul describes the trials of his life in 2 Corinthians 11:23-25 (NIV)
“… I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently,
been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones,
three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea…”
How could the man endure so many trials as that and still refer to them as “light and momentary trials”? He explains the reason for enduring dreadful alternatives successfully in the words, “…we fix our eyes…on what is unseen…what is unseen is eternal.”
Getting the long term view makes dealing with the shorter term problems possible. When we find grace to get our eyes off what is temporary and see what is beyond this life—then we shall be able to say with Paul that our troubles are “momentary”. In Romans 8:18 Paul says that it is not worth the effort to compare today’s problems with eternities glories.
May the Lord grant us grace to have this vision of eternity that will make us successful in meeting the trials of today. Whether or not we can say with Paul that today’s trials are “light and momentary”, we can be thankful that a day is coming when that is exactly what we shall say!