The past several days I have been listening to a song by Shane and Shane such a powerful song of lament and pain taken from the book of Job. The lyrics are both challenging and life-giving. I come, God, I come
I come, God, I come
Return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You strike down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering
For those who don’t know or profess Christ’s name, there are no guarantees in life. As an adopted son or daughter of our Heavenly Father, we have a couple of powerful guarantees. We are guaranteed that we will suffer in this life. [Tweet “We are also guaranteed that that suffering will be momentary and also meaningful”] We are also guaranteed that that suffering will be momentary and also meaningful. Paul says this so powerfully in 2 Corinthians 4
17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
John Piper expounding on this passage says the following:
We do not lose heart because every single moment of our affliction in the path of obedience — whether from sickness or slander — fallen nature or fallen people — all of it is meaningful. That is, all of it — unseen to our eyes —is producing something, preparing something, for us in eternity. Verse 17: “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
This glory, that God will show us and give us, is beyond imagination. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). And more than that. There are special glories in the age to come brought about by your particular afflictions. That’s what verse 17 says: Your affliction is preparing [producing] for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
Producing a Special, Eternal Glory
That is what I mean by saying every moment of your affliction is meaningful. It has meaning. It is doing something. Causing something. Bringing about something glorious. You can’t see this. The world can’t see this. They think, and you are tempted to think, this suffering is meaningless. It’s not doing anything good. I can’t see any good coming out of this. That’s what you feel if you focus on the seen.
To which Paul responds, look to the things that are unseen. The promise of God. Nothing in your pain is meaningless. It is all preparing. Working something. Producing something — a weight of glory, a special glory for you. Just for you because of that pain.
I have learned and am learning in this short momentary life that life is painful but Jesus is glorious. I want to encourage you if you are in pain, endure knowing it’s producing in you a weight of glory which you can not fully comprehend. If you teach kids to prepare them for the faith they will need one day when suffering comes knocking at their door. A day when Christian bumper-stickers and cheap slogans will not cut through the sorrow. Prepare them, leader, because suffering will come. Youth leader, Kids Pastor do not give your kids a small vision of God that is simple that they will grow out of. Give them a grand view of a majestic God who can do what we can not. A God who tells us in Romans that can somehow turn the most horrific moments in our lives into something that is for our good and his glory. Only God can do that. Only a vast, amazing God can do that. Youth Pastor this weekend preach that kind of a God to your kids. Tonight mom and dad remind your kids that Jesus is enough. Say it to yourself over and over but be sure to say it to your kids Jesus is enough because he is. In your deepest pain, he is enough.
Take a few minutes and listen to “Though he slay me” by Shane & Shane
Here is the full message by John Piper – The Glory of God in the Sight of Eternity