STEPPING STONES TO A GLAD TOMORROW

Read: 2 Corinthians 4: 8-18

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all

(2 Corinthians 4:17).

 Paul wanted the Corinthian church to see that God’s grace working through his many troubles and trials could cause “thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (v.15).  They were so severe that he was “hard pressed on every side,” “perplexed,” “persecuted,” and “struck down” (v.8-9). “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (v.16).

Some think that the grace of God should keep us from all trials and conflicts.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  God brings or allows trials in our lives for His good purposes. Well then, what about someone like the apostle Paul?  You would think, for example, that during his great missionary journey to Rome, he would have been kept by God’s sovereign power, yet he experienced just the opposite.  He narrowly escaped drowning after a shipwreck at Malta where he shook off a poisonous snake hanging from his hand (Acts 27-28).

Our trials are intended to make us more useful in His service.  No one is excluded.

The pressure on Paul was persistent, but he always emerged victorious through the grace and strength of Jesus Christ.  He said here in 2 Corinthians 4:10, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

 At times, life’s pain can be so overwhelming that we are tempted to despair.  Paul told the Corinthians that the hardships he suffered in Asia were so intense he “despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (v.9).  By shifting his focus to his life-sustaining God, he became resilient instead of overwhelmed.

Many fail to experience this principle because they expect to receive it all without a struggle.  When conflicts come and the battle continues, they become discouraged.  Difficult times and places are our schools of faith and character.

Focusing on ourselves can lead to despair, but trusting God gives us a different perspective—and hope. God’s promises will never fail, and those who patiently wait will not be disappointed—for believing faith leads to reality.

We can endure our trials today because of heaven’s joys that await us tomorrow.  No matter what happens in this life we are assured of salvation through Jesus Christ with eternal peace and joy in the next!

Tribulation, grief, and sorrow

Are but heaven’s stepping stones

To a bright and glad tomorrow

Where no heartache can be known. –Glass